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Can Sweating Cause Acne?

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Sweating is a natural bodily function that regulates body temperature. However, excessive sweating can also cause skin problems such as acne. How does sweating affect acne?

Acne is a common skin problem affecting millions of teenagers worldwide. Although some people get acne at puberty, most develop acne later. The actual causes of acne are unknown, but hormones play a role. Hormones control our moods, emotions, appetite, sleep patterns, and other functions.

Excessive sweating can cause acne because it increases levels of sebum (oil) in the pores. Sebum production can increase during periods of stress or anxiety. This can trigger acne breakouts.

What Is Acne?

Acne is a common chronic skin inflammatory disease found in adolescents and young adults. It is characterized by pimples on the face, chest, and back. This skin ailment occurs when skin pores become clogged with bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells.

It is more common during puberty in girls between 12 years of age and younger, and boys in the age range of 15 years and older. Sometimes, acne may disappear within the early twenties or persist into adulthood occurring more often in females.

Acne affects the pilosebaceous units of the skin, this is a part found in all regions of the skin such as the scalp, face, neck, and shoulders.

This unit helps with the process of dispersion of sweat and protects the skin from external environments. Inflammation occurs when hair follicles are trapped with dead skin cells and oil. It is often followed by zits, whiteheads, pimples, lesions, and scarring.

Signs Of Acne

Symptoms of acne include breakouts that develop on the face, neck, chest, and back. It causes discomfort, emotional stress, disfiguration, self-consciousness, and scarring to the skin.


This is a raised blemish that is white, or flesh-colored. It forms because of a mass buildup of excess oil and dead skin cells that plug pore openings. Picking or pinching whiteheads can lead to breakouts and scars.


It accumulates from oils and skin builds up inside the pores, this widens skin pores. The back color occurs when buildups in pores react with oxygen. Squeezing blackheads can cause infections and permanent scars.


There are two types of pimples, pustules which contain pus while papules are without pus. It arises when your pores get filled with bacteria that cause swelling and inflammation.

Acne Cyst

When swelling and inflammation go deep into the skin, acne nodules and cysts are developed. Cysts are like boils, it is tender, painful, and filled with pus. The acne nodule does not contain pus and is harder to touch.

Acne scars that may be permanent or heal with time. Dark spots usually clear off on their own, however, the darker the color, the longer it takes to fade.

What Causes Acne?

Different factors can contribute to the prevalence and onset of acne in boys and girls. Some of which are:


During puberty, certain hormones are released to help the process and changes in growth. Acne can occur at this stage when there is an increase in testosterone levels. It stimulates the growth and development of male body organs in boys; it is also responsible for maintaining muscle and bone strength in girls.


Individuals with family members who have acne have a higher rate of developing this skin ailment than others.

Changes in women’s body

Girls and women experience acne more than boys and men, this is because their body functions differently and undergoes some processes that trigger it.

Menstrual Circle

Also known as menstruation is the monthly flow of blood from puberty to menopause. When unfertilized eggs are shed. Symptoms associated with the period are acne, mood swings, cramps, and constipation.


Acne is more common during a woman’s first 3 months.


Polycystic ovary syndrome is the formation of small cysts in the ovary. It causes weight gain and acne.

Risk Factors For Acne

There are certain things that can increase your risk of developing skin inflammatory ailments like acne; they are:


Certain drugs used to manage psychological disorders like depression and bipolar can trigger side effects like acne.


Wearing items that constantly put pressure on your body can irritate skin pores and cause acne.

Cosmetic products

Some cosmetic products may have reactions that lead to skin breakouts. Although this is less common, it still occurs.


Older adults who smoke are more likely to have lung and skin problems.

Process Of Sweating

There are so many sweat glands in your body, including eccrine glands, which are of a higher quantity. It aids the regulation of your body’s temperature by secreting a clear, odorless fluid called sweat.

Sweating involves the release of liquids from the sweat glands. This liquid is known as perspiration and contains salt, which helps your body stay cool. It is found in higher density under your arms, on your feet, and on the palms. Most sweat glands become fully active in puberty. Men have more active sweat glands than women.

Sweat is typically odorless, however, it may have a foul smell when it comes in contact with bacteria. Certain conditions may occur and affect the amount of sweat your body produces.

This is hyperhidrosis, caused by low blood sugar, and healthy thyroid, and accompanied by too much sweating. Anhidrosis is sweating too little, this can be very detrimental and life-threatening. Burns and dehydration can lead to this.

Effects Of Sweating

Sweating is actually a good thing as it helps regulate your body temperature. The major function of sweats is to release excess heat.

Without it, your body would pile up excess heat, which could lead to death. Physical activity and exercises are good for your body, they help keep you in shape and boost metabolism. When you sweat during workouts, your body reaches some levels that help improve cardiovascular health.

Although sweating is good, there are some activities such as nervousness, excessive sweating, and being sick that trigger sweat glands and are associated with problems like anxiety, heat exhaustion, and illness.

How Is Sweating Associated With Acne?

The prevalent link between sweat and acne is bacteria. Yes, bacteria, because it affects sweating by causing odor and also triggers skin inflammation once it is transferred to skin pores.

How is it transferred? The answer is Bacteria. Yes, it can be passed from dirt and unhealthy surfaces. Let’s say, for example, your hairline is constantly touched, with particles or residues migrating towards it.

Sweat helps release toxins from your body through sweat glands. These glands are found on parts of the body like the arms, palms, and feet. Hence bacteria can easily be transferred from one area to the other.

Does Sweat Cause Acne?

Sweat itself does not cause acne, however, acne breakouts can be triggered by bacteria in typical sweat areas.

Areas, where you sweat more, can have more friction and trap heat and bacteria. Tight clothes and other clothing items may irritate your body, cause sweats, and trigger or aggravate blemishes.

Makeup is very common now, this is not restricted to full facial makeup. It could be something as little as powder or foundation. Whatever the case may be, sweat can mess up makeup, creating a cakey mess. This leads to residues clogging up skin pores, which eventually brings about acne and blemishes.

Treatment For Acne

Anti-acne products

Creams, gels, lotions, solutions, and washes can be applied directly to the affected areas for absorption and a decrease in inflammation.


There are antibiotics and vitamins available to act on the skin surface and reduce the stimulus for inflammation of lesions.

Chemical peeling

Removal of the epidermis to stimulate facial resurfacing and skin rejuvenation. This requires a thorough process that can only be done by a professional.

Natural remedy

Homemade recipes made from herbs, and natural spices can also curb skin breakouts.

Tips To Prevent Breakouts

  • Wash your face regularly to keep it free from dirt and debris
  • Be careful with hair products to avoid particles accidentally clogging up pores
  • Avoid touching your face, this can easily irritate sensitive skin
  • Stick to a healthy diet, stay away from oily foods and eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly for healthy skin and body
  • Practice stress management techniques to counteract stress and anxiety.
  • Moisturize skin frequently to prevent breakouts. Leaving your skin dry can make it susceptible to irritations.
  • Drink enough water and fluids to avoid dehydration. Staying hydrated help prevent and reduce your risk of developing health problems
  • Quit smoking, not only does this activity trigger inflammation, but it also causes severe health problems


It is not uncommon that acne affects individual self-esteem, making you extremely self-conscious and cautious. Stress and anxiety may arise from this, the constant self-consciousness, and lack of self-confidence. You should know that not all acne responds to treatment immediately, some take years.

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