Acne Sports Acne Gym Acne exercise
by Juliana Gordilho, MD, Global Medical Franchise Lead Acne for Galderma

Acne and High School Sports

Could high school sports or sessions at the gym be contributing to your child’s acne? The answer is probably, “yes.”

Several factors associated with sports, from protective gear to sweaty build up, can impact your child’s acne. Gear that rubs against the skin, including football helmets, wrestling headgear and tight, sweaty uniforms can exacerbate acne on the face and body.

A combination of friction, oxygen blocking and heat can lead to stress on the skin and influence acne breakouts. But prevention is key, and there are several simple measures your teen can take to avoid breakouts after a session on the field or at the gym:

  • Start your practice or exercise session in clean clothes, then remove sweaty athletic gear immediately after. Consider lining helmets with a removable, washable cotton liner to absorb sweat and oil.
  • Shower immediately shower after exercise. If your teens can’t shower right after exercise, consider giving them cleansing wipes they can keep in their backpacks or lockers.
  • Stick to a gentle skin care regimen. Talk to a dermatologist about pre- and post- sports regimens, which will likely include “non-comedogenic" or "won't clog pores" cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens.

Before you know it you’ll have sports-related breakouts on the run!


• Emer J, Sivek R, Marciniak B. Sports Dermatology: Part 1 of 2 Traumatic or Mechanical Injuries, Inflammatory Conditions, and Exacerbations of Pre-existing Conditions. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015 Apr;8(4):31-43.

• Adams BB, Lain E, York JP, Rueda MJ (2016) Efficacy, Safety, and Patient Satisfaction with a Combined Acne Treatment Regimen for the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris in Adolescent Student Athletes. J Gen Pract 4: 228.

Sign up for email updates

Register to receive personalized information and news from