Acne has tons of causes. Everything from hormones to bacteria to allergic reactions can cause skin issues. But, what happens when something good for you, such as working out, is making you break out?

Well, there are reasons why this happens, and that means there are ways to stop it.

Even though working out is known to help ease stress-related breakouts, it also makes you sweat. Sweat promotes the build-up of things like yeast and bacteria, which also lead to acne. But, the good news is, it doesn’t have to.

Start with clean skin

Do not wear makeup to the gym, on your run, or even to yoga. Anything more than lip balm can clog your pores and lead to acne. When you get your heart rate up, your blood flow increases, and your pores open, allowing what is sitting on top of them to get in and cause problems.

This also goes for your hair. Pull it back off your face and neck. Hair products and the natural oils found in your hair can encourage the growth of bacteria, once again leading to breakouts.

Wash your face ASAP

After working out, you want to wash your face, back, and anywhere else you regularly break out. The longer that sweat, oil, dirt, and bacteria sit, the greater the chance to cause problems.

A salicylic acid cleanser will work for most, but if your skin is considerably oilier than most, a benzoyl peroxide wash may be better for you.

And after showering and cleansing your face, be sure you are going in with a clean towel to dry off gently. A towel with sweat, hair products, or perfumed lotions on it won’t help the problem.

Wear sunscreen

Always wear sunscreen when you’re working out. Whether you are indoors or no, the sun is damaging to your skin. The damage leads to more issues.

Plus, the sun dries out your skin. When your skin is overly dry, it overproduces oil to combat that. An excess of oil then leads to acne. You want to be sure to use an SPF of at least 30, find an oil-free formula, and be sure it is water-resistant so that sweating won’t melt it away. Also, be sure to reapply every 2 hours.

On top of these methods to help stop breakouts from forming after your workouts, you’ll want to keep your skin dry as you work out. If you find yourself sweating, gently dab your face or neck dry with a clean towel. Don’t keep drying yourself with the same area of the towel, either. If you are too rough with drying your skin and rub, you can irritate the skin. You don’t want that.

You do not have to give up working out because it is leading to acne. All of these steps should help reduce the build-up of acne after exercise. If not, you’ll want to see a dermatologist who can provide you with a topical treatment so you can get back to enjoying your exercise routine.

“Is Your Workout Causing Your Acne?” American Academy of Dermatology,