How to Prevent and Treat Bodybuilding Acne


Bodybuilding acne is common when you’re making those gains. But you don’t have to live with it. Click here to learn how to prevent and treat your acne.

Keyword(s): bodybuilding acne

Every bodybuilder knows that bodybuilding is more than just having large muscles to show off. First, there’s the feeling of satisfaction after putting in time at the gym and knowing you’re reaching your goals.

There’s also the way your body feels physically fit and strong after a good workout. Unfortunately, there are also some downsides to bodybuilding. One of the most common problems with the sport is known as bodybuilding acne.

Since most people bodybuild to help improve their self-esteem, the side effect of acne doesn’t help. So rather than skipping the gym, let’s learn how to prevent and treat bodybuilding acne.

What is Bodybuilding Acne?

Acne occurs when the body starts over-producing oil from glands beneath the skin. The oil (sebum) is produced to lubricate your skin and the glands are found in large numbers on your face, back, shoulders, and chest.

When trapped, bacteria multiplies and the area becomes inflamed. The result is clogged pores, dead skin cells, and possible further infection and scarring. But did you know there are three different types of acne?

bodybuilding acne

Non-Inflammatory Acne

This type of acne rarely causes inflammation. Rather, you’re just left with an unattractive looking blackheads or whiteheads. Most of this type of acne can be easily cleared up with over-the-counter solutions.

Inflammatory Acne

Obviously, inflammation occurs with this type of acne. Bacteria are usually in play which causes the inflammation. While blackheads and whiteheads are gross, they’re nothing compared to:


When the walls break down due to inflammation, papules are formed. They are hard, clogged pores that are tender to touch. They’re usually red in color and contain either a white or yellow head on top.


Like their name suggests, there’s puss involved with pustules. The puss contained in the acne is what separates it from a papule.


Nodules occur when the pores are clogged up and inflamed. Nodules become even more irritated and they go even deeper under the skin than papules or pustules.

Since they are so deep, treatment from a dermatologist is usually required. The medication given works to decrease the size of your oil glands.


Cysts develop due to a nasty combination of bacteria, dead skin cells, and sebum. The clogs that cause cysts begin deep within the skin and are even further beneath the surface than even nodules.

These red or white bumps hurt when touched. They’re also the largest form of acne and are usually caused by a severe infection.

They also take the longest to heal and may require medication. In severe cases, your dermatologist may decide to remove the cyst.

Do NOT try to pop cysts. They are the most likely form of bodybuilding acne to cause scarring.

What Are Some Causes of Bodybuilding Acne?

Acne is caused by a variety of different causes and anyone can get acne. The main causes are:


If a parent suffered from acne, there’s a much higher chance you will too. While you may not get the same type of acne as your parents, how much you get is a direct result of genetics.


If you’re bodybuilding, smoking probably isn’t a wise idea. After all, aren’t you building up your body to be healthy? So while smoking, like genetics, isn’t a huge cause, smoking does mess up your skin and reduces your stamina levels. So quit today.


Stress is bad for so many reasons. Yet, today most of us find ourselves more stressed out than ever. Which is why bodybuilding is such a great sport, it’s a way to let the days stress go.

Stress lowers your immune system, which could possibly lead to more breakouts. And stress lowers your energy levels. So lower your stress levels instead.

Try going to bed at the same time every night. A good night’s sleep has a lot of health benefits, including lowering stress and healthier looking skin.


We all know that it’s smart to eat healthy foods. The problem is that so many people tend to disagree on what healthy foods really are. Recent studies have shown a direct correlation between bodybuilding acne and the following foods:

  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Junk Food
  • Greasy Food
  • Processed Foods
  • Sugar

Most of these foods contain harmful chemicals you may not even be aware of. They contribute to spiking your blood sugar, trigger hormonal fluctuations, and causes inflammation in the body.

In case you’re looking for other reasons to stop eating the above-mentioned foods, they are also known to cause depression and weight gain. Instead, choose to eat real food. Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will keep you full, healthy, and your skin will love you for it.

Drugs and Medications

Weight training does cause testosterone levels to rise. Increased levels of testosterone have been proven to trigger acne in both men and women. However, testosterone levels return to normal 30 minutes after a workout is finished. So it is not thought to cause acne.

Raised testosterone levels through the use of steroid drugs will cause acne. Since there are other health concerns when using steroids besides acne, it’s recommended you stay away from the use of drugs.

Certain medications also cause bodybuilding acne. Talk to you doctor if you’re taking a medication that seems to be causing breakouts.

Do Supplements Cause Bodybuilding Acne?

Obviously taking steroids is out of the question, so that means turning to supplements to help with your performance. But there are so many on the market, which ones will help? Which ones will cause acne? Let’s find out.

Best Supplements for Bodybuilders to Take

Best Supplements to Avoid Bodybuilding Acne

  • B12
  • Multivitamins containing too much iodine
  • Biotin (B7)

The problem is that biotin, despite the fact that it’s found naturally in your body, is found in a lot of products that you use every day. If you’re suffering from bodybuilding acne, look at the ingredients in the following products before you buy:

  • Most multi-vitamins
  • Nutritional drink powders
  • Shampoos and conditioners

Foods such as egg yolks, organ meat, and even avocados and cauliflower also contain biotin. Eat these foods in moderation.

What Can You Do To Prevent Bodybuilding Acne?

There are several options to preventing and healing acne caused by bodybuilding. Let’s take a look.

Leave Them Alone

Despite the overwhelming desire, you might feel to pick at your zits, don’t. That only makes them worse and more inflamed. Usually, it just means you have to wait even longer until they disappear. Just leave them alone.

Do Not Overwash

Overwashing is also a big cause of recurring acne. At most, wash your face twice a day. You want the natural oils your body produces to do their job. Overwashing also dries out your skin and it will take longer for your acne to heal.

The Sun is Your Friend

I’m not suggesting you spend all day every day worshipping the sun god. But a little bit of sun can have a ton of health benefits. Great skin is just one of them.

Changing Your Clothing

If your bodybuilder acne has gotten so bad that your acne sores are pussing and popping, change your clothing. Keeping the same clothing on will only lead to more bacteria being spread which in turn means more breakouts.

Using Acne Fighting Natural Home Remedies

Before you head to the doctor, see what natural products you have at home that might work to fight off your bodybuilding acne. Even if they don’t cure your acne right away, many will lessen the inflammation and help you find some comfort during a bad flareup.

Seeing a Dermatologist

When all else fails, it’s time to see your local dermatologist. He or she can help you determine if there is a direct cause for your bodybuilding acne and what medications, if any, would be most appropriate to help you heal.

As always, medications have side effects. Some can be mild, while others can be severe. Contact your physician immediately if you feel you are having a negative reaction to any medications you’re taking. The most commonly used medications prescribed for acne are:

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide unclogs pores and stops the bacteria that causes bodybuilding acne to grow. You may experience dryness or peeling when on this medication.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is an ingredient found commonly in over-the-counter acne prevention products. It dries up your pimples but may also cause the top layer of your skin to peel.

Topical and Oral Antibiotics

Antibiotics are usually given to those suffering from extreme cases of acne. The antibiotics kill off the bacteria that causes your acne. You may be put on a high dose at first and then slowly weened off as your acne clears up.

Retinoid Medicines

Retinoid medicines affect the growth of cells and decrease swelling and inflammation. Retinoid medications are derived from vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy cell growth and immune system.

Androgen Blockers

Androgen blockers help decrease the amount of sebum made in your pores. More commonly, these medications are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Birth Control

Birth control is only given to women. One of the side effects of birth control is usually a reduction in acne. However, it may still be possible for a woman to still get acne, especially when she’s menstruating.

No matter what course of action you take, we’re here. We’re all about helping you treat your body right so you can get the most performance out of it. We’ll even text you free supplement advice so you can stay informed.