Derm DMs: Can Sweat Cause Acne?

February 02, 2023
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | by L'Oréal
Two images of people touching their faces and one image of a person typing on their phone, with a green filter

You probably know that fluctuating hormones and excess oil production can be triggers for acne, but what about sweat? Warm weather, an intense workout and even time spent lying in the sun on vacation (with your SPF on, of course) can all produce perspiration, which in turn can contribute to breakouts. To find out how exactly sweat can affect acne, we reached out to Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist and consultant based in New York City.

Can Sweat Cause Acne?

If sweat is not properly rinsed off, it can contribute to clogged pores, which are one of the main culprits of acne, says Dr. Garshick. “It is important to always rinse off using a gentle cleanser to remove excess sweat, oil and buildup from the day,” she explains. “This can be important to help reduce and prevent breakouts.”

This goes for any type of sweat, whether you spent the day lounging in the sun or just finished a workout at the gym.


Picture of a person washing their face and smiling

How Can You Address Acne?

Washing your face and body with a gentle cleanser is the best way to help remove sweat and acne-causing bacteria. If you’re out and about, you can also keep cleansing wipes or micellar water (plus a cotton pad!) on hand to give your skin a refresh. 

In addition to cleansing, Dr. Garshick recommends incorporating acne-fighting ingredients into your skincare routine, such as salicylic acid, retinoids and benzoyl peroxide.

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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