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Acne, the most common skin condition in the United States, affects approximately 13 to 16 percent of the population, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD 1. Many factors can contribute to acne, including genetic make-up, hormones and stress, the AAD reports. Lifting weights can trigger hormones in your body, causing an imbalance that may lead to the formation of acne.
Acne involves your oil glands and hair follicles. **It occurs when your skin pores become blocked with oily residue and become swollen and infected, according to Medical News Today 2. Various types of acne can form, including whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules and cysts. The face, neck, back, shoulders and chest areas often show the most susceptibility to acne. Although not a dangerous disease, acne can cause scarring, Medical News Today reports 2.
Sudden Back Acne
Androgens, or hormones responsible for male sexual characteristics, contribute to acne, according to the Cleveland Clinic 3. High androgen levels increase the size and production of oil glands under the skin, causing acne breakouts. Levels of the most common type of androgen, testosterone, often rise in adolescents and bodybuilders. Lifting weights increases testosterone levels nearly 30 percent post exercise, according to San Diego State University, which contributes to acne formation.
- Androgens, or hormones responsible for male sexual characteristics, contribute to acne, according to the Cleveland Clinic 3.
- Lifting weights increases testosterone levels nearly 30 percent post exercise, according to San Diego State University, which contributes to acne formation.
When sebum, an oily substance produced by your body, gets trapped in skin pores, inflammation and acne develops on your skin’s surface. The androgens released during strength training create excess sebum production, which contributes to acne. Testosterone levels increase with each bout of heavy resistance training, according to “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” Raised testosterone levels promote oil production, often clogging follicles and encouraging acne breakouts 5.
How to Get Rid of the Itchiness of Pimples
Proper skin washing helps prevent acne breakouts. Wash your skin to remove excess oils, especially after exercising, recommends KidsHealth.org 6. If breakouts on your body occur, avoid wearing tight clothing that can cause irritation. Treatments include topical creams, oral antibiotics, retinoids and hormone treatments, according to the AAD. Over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may effectively treat acne, as well, according to KidsHealth.org 6. Seek advice from your health care provider for treatment options.
Although lifting weights may contribute to acne, consider the overall benefits of testosterone and strength training. Testosterone helps increase muscle strength, red blood cell production, bone density and sex drive, according to MayoClinic.com. Low androgen levels may cause a decrease in self-confidence, sleep disturbances and infertility. Resistance training provides numerous health benefits such as reduced risk of injury, weight management and reduced risk of disease, according to MayoClinic.com, and should be a consistent part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Although lifting weights may contribute to acne, consider the overall benefits of testosterone and strength training.
- Resistance training provides numerous health benefits such as reduced risk of injury, weight management and reduced risk of disease, according to MayoClinic.com, and should be a consistent part of a healthy lifestyle.
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- American Academy of Dermatology: Acne
- Medical News Today: What is Acne? What Causes Acne?
- Cleveland Clinic: Acne
- San Diego State University: Repetitve Exhaustive Resistance Training Stimulates Testosterone
- “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise": Effects of Sequential Bouts of Resistance Exercise on Androgen
- KidsHealth.org: What Causes Acne?
- American Academy of Dermatology. Acne: Who gets and causes.
- American Academy of Dermatology. Adult acne.
- Zaenglein AL, Pathy AL, Schlosser BJ, Alikhan A, Baldwin HE, Berson, DS, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74(5):945-73.e33. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.12.037
- Ju Q, Tao T, Hu T, Karadağ AS, Al-khuzaei S, Chen W. Sex hormones and acne. Clin Dermatol. 2017;35(2):130-137. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.10.004
- Dréno B. What is new in the pathophysiology of acne, an overview. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2017;31 Suppl 5:8-12. doi:10.1111/jdv.14374
- Juhl CR, Bergholdt HKM, Miller IM, Jemec GBE, Kanters JK, Ellervik C. Dairy intake and acne vulgaris: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 78,529 children, adolescents, and young adults. Nutrients. 2018;10(8) doi: 10.3390/nu10081049
Sunny Griffis, a certified performance technologist, is a fitness coach who has been a professional writer since 1998. Her work can be seen in online and print publications such as "Family Fun," "Cappers," "Rutherford Woman Magazine" and "Healthy Family Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in metaphysics from AIHT, and a CPT certification from NFPT.