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crevin

Could weight-lifting be an acne-trigger?

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I've been surfing these boards for years. I'm a 25 yr old male and have battled acne since I was about 19. I've tried all sorts of things-- all kinds of topicals, water-only cleansing, fasting, gluten-free/low GI diet, low fat diet, high protein diets, vegetarian diets... you name it. I've also experimented with all kinds of supplements. My skin has gotten a lot better, but I still break out regularly and am far from happy with my skin.

I just want to toss this idea out there--

I think we would all agree that acne is not normal. Those of us who suffer from it have something "wrong" with our body chemistry. There are a million different theories as to what might be the cause and it seems to vary from person to person. My hypothesis is that there is some sort of "imbalance" in our bodies and that our lifestyle affects this "imbalance" dramatically. What we eat, how much sleep we get, how much sun we get, and how much water we drink might all have some sort of impact on our skin. I definitely notice my skin gets really bad on late-night benders when I eat junk food and get just 4-5 hours of sleep. So, what I am tossing out there is the possibility of weight-lifting and INTENSE exercise creating an imbalance in our bodies. Is it natural to bench press and do chest dips and get ripped as all hell? Maybe it is throwing some of our (those with acne) body chemistries way out of whack.

I only get breakouts on my jaw, chin, and mouth area. My forehead, back, and chest are always 100% clear. My skin tone is very red and blotchy. Acne can be the result of what seems like a BILLION different things-- it varies from person to person to person to person (x100000).

I was just thinking about when I started getting acne (about 19), and when I started working out and lifting weights (about 18-19). Weightlifting increases testosterone levels, right? I have six siblings and I am the ONLY one with acne problems, and I am also the ONLY one who works out and exercises religiously. Is it possible that this could throw one's hormone levels all out of whack? I am not suggesting that this might be the "sole" cause of mine or anyone else's acne, but maybe it could be a trigger or be one of many small things that might lead to hormone imbalances. And for those of you wondering, no, I don't eat any type of protein shake. I eat nonfat greek yogurt or raw kefir for my source of protein (gross, but almost no sugar).

Here is a link to the thread I found--

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/archive...p/t-150143.html

I am going to stop lifting weights entirely for awhile and see how my skin responds. I know that some of you are thinking "well, how come athelets don't have acne." Two things-- 1) they might not have it on their face, but a lot of them have it elsewhere, and 2) everyone's body is different-- maybe they can handle the increased androgen production. I'm just tossing this idea out there-- it could be (and probably is) totally wrong, but I figure it's worth a shot and worth bringing up for discussion. I was reading through the thread and hate seeing people saying such empty, unfounded things (e.g. intense exercise causes you to sweat which purges all the toxins out of your body, which is good for your acne-- really? and what is your basis for that belief? It sounds sensible, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is true. Or another one I see a lot is "sweating and intense exercise is good for your skin because it increases circulation"-- again, it sounds sensible and plausible, but for all we know it could be way wrong). Also, just something random I thought of, but most other cultures don't lift weights. I remember reading something awhile ago about cultures with low mortality rates and long lifespans, and what they all had in common was that they all lived very active lives but did not partake in INTENSE exercise-- they did lots of walking and low-intensity work. And just from my limited observations it always seems like people with acne look like they are in pretty good physical shape--

So, in the meantime I am going to do really LIGHT biking and walking-- no more sprinting or bench pressing or deadlifting at the gym.

Anyways, I'll shut up. Post your thoughts.

(and once again I am just TOSSING THIS IDEA OUT THERE-- I HAVE NO CLUE-- JUST A THOUGHT OF MINE)

Edited by crevin

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Guest DireStraits

I love it when people toss up ideas around it always get me thinking as well.

Crevin, like you I think there are a number of factors related to acne. I'm a soccer player, its my preferred sport but I also used to add weight lifting to my routine to improve my strength for soccer. My experience with weight lifting is not a good one. For two years in 2007 and the majority of 2008 I would go to the gym and lift weights and enjoyed it so much, however there was one big problem I would get some inflamed pimples-im pretty sure they were pastules. I had a certain philosophy for my gym routine, 'Go hard or go home'. I only drank protein shakes in 2007 and cut them out in 2008 but I was still getting these pastules which formed deep under the skin. While I did work out I never went to the gym regularly I was completely random, I would go maybe twice one week then maybe because I got busy with uni work and soccer I would give weight lifting a break for 3 or 4 weeks and come back when I had the time. This is what I believe fked me up-the irregular workout pattern which I'll explain later.

So I stopped weight lifting and did see an improvement but by no means was I clear theres other factors which break me out on other parts of my face but thats a different story. Instead I took up swimming, this sport definitely works your upper body but not as much as bench presses or bicep curls lol. Again what would you know, when after the first night of swimming I got the pastules once more..fk me dead. So I continued my irregular swimming routine (I only went during my free time) and noticed these breakouts were at its worst after swimming for the first time in a long time ie 3 weeks. So I decided to commit myself to regularly going swimming (2 times per week every week) and the only time I got the pastules was after the first swim session, thats it. The following weeks I got none of those pastules so I'm guessing my body was just giving me some sort of 'initial' breakout probably from the testosterone spike. But once my body got used to the regularity of training my upper body from swimming things became ok i guess.

I thought I would just add another thing, I love running, and if I go running during humid times ie summer I would get these cysts around my chin wtf? I never breakout in my chin except summer. Around three weeks ago I went running in 30 degree Celsius weather which is 86 Fahrenheit and the next five days there was this pimple slowly but surely forming just above my chin (turned out to be a cyst) and I think this was the result of running in the heat. During the winter I never get any sort of chin acne and in general my acne is that little bit better during the colder seasons. Last year the exact same thing happened to me. I might have created an imbalance in my body by doing that I guess.

I have been doing some research and Chinese medicine seems to give some sort of explanation for this being due to excess 'heat'.

Look I dont know what to think about these patterns i've experienced and maybe i've rambled on a bit too much, its almost midnight here lol. I just need help treating this crap because its something thats harder to control than diet and its role in my acne.

Btw how did accutane go for you crevin?

Edited by DireStraits

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That is all interesting, DireStraits-- thanks for the response! I definitely don't think weight lifting could be the "sole" cause of acne (or maybe? who knows), but I think it could be one of many contributors. Maybe poor sleep habits and poor diet-- along with weightlifting-- throws our hormones and body chemistry way out of whack. I was thinking "how come I never see people with acne at the gym"--

First, most of the people I see at the gym aren't in very good shape... they are there trying to GET IN shape. I have been pounding the weights and shredding my body for nearly six years. And for those who are in good shape and don't have acne, maybe their bodies are just different and able to handle the increased androgen production.

I don't know. All I know is that a lot of people believe acne in many people is related to hormones and lifting weights and adding muscle to your body stimulates hormone production.

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dude, just stop eating A LOT

you are in fantasy world if you tihkn working out or anyhting along those lines is responsible for your acne.

When I say stop eating alot, STOP with the protein/supplements. Just Stop. OKay?

Okay

Edited by soosyv

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Guest DireStraits
When I say stop eating alot, STOP with the protein/supplements. Just Stop. OKay?

Okay

Dude read the previous posts properly.

Neither myself or crevin are taking protein shakes at the moment.

Go back and read the posts above, alright.

Can you do that?

Yeah?

Good work son.

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This post got me thinking as well. I've lightly lifted since the age of 15 (I'm 20 now). I never wanted to do any serious lifting becuase I have played soccer for most of my life. The light lifting never has had an effect on my acne, and I believe has helped. Anyway, I know there is definitely a correlation, at lest for me, between cardio and inflamed acne. When I would do my daily mile run, I would notice an increase in cysts, nodules and pustules. Not a crazy amount, but the odds of me getting a more severe type of spot would increase as opposed to if I didn't run. At this moment, I have started lifting again and want to go back to running but am afraid. Has anyone else noticed cardio triggering inflamed acne?

P.S I shower immediately after my run so I don't give me pores a chance to clog.

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When I say stop eating alot, STOP with the protein/supplements. Just Stop. OKay?

Okay

Dude read the previous posts properly.

Neither myself or crevin are taking protein shakes at the moment.

Go back and read the posts above, alright.

Can you do that?

Yeah?

Good work son.

son, where did I say anything about protein shakes? I said protein or supplements. I duno, I think protein comes in lots of flavors(hrmm, me having fun with topic, it should read forms), not just shakes. Now, why dont you go back and read what he(crevin) wrote?

NOw I will quote you! haha

"Go back and read the posts above, alright.

Can you do that?

Yeah?

Good work son."

Hypocriteness

I dont have time to deal with you wikipedia reading geniuses, son.

:redface:

Edited by soosyv

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When I say stop eating alot, STOP with the protein/supplements. Just Stop. OKay?

Okay

Dude read the previous posts properly.

Neither myself or crevin are taking protein shakes at the moment.

Go back and read the posts above, alright.

Can you do that?

Yeah?

Good work son.

son, where did I say anything about protein shakes? I said protein or supplements. I duno, I think protein comes in lots of flavors(hrmm, me having fun with topic, it should read forms), not just shakes. Now, why dont you go back and read what he(crevin) wrote?

NOw I will quote you! haha

"Go back and read the posts above, alright.

Can you do that?

Yeah?

Good work son."

Hypocriteness

I dont have time to deal with you wikipedia reading geniuses, son.

:redface:

I don't eat a lot and I don't overdo it on the protein. And if you can prove to me that weightlifting might not be an acne-trigger, then please provide some evidence. Simply saying "weightlifting does not contribute to acne" is an empty statement and means nothing.

I've done apple fasts, juice fasts, and restrict my caloric intake big time. I eat like a monk. Just because there are weightlifters out there who consume 300+ grams of protein a day doesn't mean every weightlifter out there does. The only protein I get is from the occasional chicken breast or turkey breast or the nonfat, low-sugar greek yogurt that I eat. Since I have a very low calorie diet, it obviously is NOT protein shakes or high caloric intake causing my acne.

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okay, you right, i bow down to experts

does that make you happy and swell? yay!

How you changed your entire story from the opening until the last post. I absolutely adore it/you.

But i am not going to nitpick because then you will be just arguing with me for the sake of arguing with me. right? right? right?

Right

i sign off

Edited by soosyv

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And SameSongAndDance-- I liked your "P.S." because I know a lot of people will say that working out or high intensity cardio might lead to acne due to the sweat and not cleansing properly afterwards. Like you, I always rinse my face off gently with cold water or with a gentle cleanser, so the clogged pores or sweat or whatever are not causing my acne.

I just think a lot about all these things that I've read on these boards, and it seems that the general consensus is that UN-NATURAL (is that a word?) things might be acne triggers. Since when was it a natural thing to do to blow up our muscles? Exercise is definitely good, but intense weightlifting...? Just as it isn't natural to eat a ton of carbs, or to only get four hours of sleep a night, it isn't really natural for us to go to the gym and throw up 200 lbs off of our chests.

And also-- think about how much stress you are putting on your body by gritting your teeth and banging out that last set of bicep curls?!

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Guest DireStraits
And SameSongAndDance-- I liked your "P.S." because I know a lot of people will say that working out or high intensity cardio might lead to acne due to the sweat and not cleansing properly afterwards. Like you, I always rinse my face off gently with cold water or with a gentle cleanser, so the clogged pores or sweat or whatever are not causing my acne.

I just think a lot about all these things that I've read on these boards, and it seems that the general consensus is that UN-NATURAL (is that a word?) things might be acne triggers. Since when was it a natural thing to do to blow up our muscles? Exercise is definitely good, but intense weightlifting...? Just as it isn't natural to eat a ton of carbs, or to only get four hours of sleep a night, it isn't really natural for us to go to the gym and throw up 200 lbs off of our chests.

And also-- think about how much stress you are putting on your body by gritting your teeth and banging out that last set of bicep curls?!

Yeah same here I immediately shower after my workouts.

Your point on the 'stress' involved in strenuous weight lifting is interesting because I forgot to mention this before. Whenever I would go hard with the weights I noticed this red lump forming below my temple I had no idea what it was, I just ignored it because it would eventually disappear 2 hours after finishing my workout. I would assume this was some sort of stress lump- I wouldn't get this lump if I worked with light weights however.

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(girls perspective...)

I went from being a college athlete with acne - to not working out every day and going up two pant sizes but my face was clear to recently doing intense work outs every day and my acne coming back... Im not ruling out that the working out wasnt what triggered my most recent insane break outs - I havent worked out since the first week in Dec and I havent seen any improvement but I also started using Tazorac and that could be why since its just getting worse and worse

Personally Im a strong believer that something is wrong inside and the acne is just a sign to us that we need to change something... but you know, after going to every type of doctor, getting all this blood work done etc. TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME...You would thinK DOCTORS would start wanting to know WHY PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY people that are older would STILL BE GETTING ACNE... especially cystic acne... i feel like acne as a whole is not studied enough in the medical profession. Its our bodies supposedly telling us something is big time wrong...

Then i also hate thinking that way, because it makes me feel like its my fault that I have acne... since no doctor EVER fixes the problem from the inside... all dermatologists want to do is fix it from the outside ... it drives me crazy (cant you tell)

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I would wager it is the diet more than the actual weightlifting. Although, if you overtrain you put an incredible stress on your nervous system and your entire body, especially if you are already stressed.

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And SameSongAndDance-- I liked your "P.S." because I know a lot of people will say that working out or high intensity cardio might lead to acne due to the sweat and not cleansing properly afterwards. Like you, I always rinse my face off gently with cold water or with a gentle cleanser, so the clogged pores or sweat or whatever are not causing my acne.

I just think a lot about all these things that I've read on these boards, and it seems that the general consensus is that UN-NATURAL (is that a word?) things might be acne triggers. Since when was it a natural thing to do to blow up our muscles? Exercise is definitely good, but intense weightlifting...? Just as it isn't natural to eat a ton of carbs, or to only get four hours of sleep a night, it isn't really natural for us to go to the gym and throw up 200 lbs off of our chests.

And also-- think about how much stress you are putting on your body by gritting your teeth and banging out that last set of bicep curls?!

It is interesting to think about- what is programmed into our evolutionary biology as far as exercising and weightlifting goes. I also agree with the overall notion that straying from the "natural" state of being can have repercussions. It can be all to easy to neurotically analyze every little aspect of modern living in these terms though.

Exercise can't not be good for you. But what specific types of exercise are best or what types of exercises our bodies were meant for is definitely something worth discussing.

Here is an interesting article - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/case-against-cardio/

This is a really great website overall, though the dietary recommendation he has are probably a bit extreme for most people. In this article he says how human beings have two main energy systems programmed in them.

The first energy system relied heavily on the slow burning of fats, keeping us fueled while we were at rest or sleeping, yet also allowing for continuous or intermittent low levels of aerobic activity (think of our ancestors walking across the savannah for hours foraging for roots, shoots, berries, grubs, insects and the occasional small animal). It makes sense. Fats are very efficient fuels that are stored easily in the fat cells and burn easily and cleanly when lots of oxygen is present (as when we are breathing normally). Even if there’s no food in the immediate area, a well-trained fat-burning hunter-gatherer could continue walking and foraging for days without compromising his or her health or efficiency.

The second major energy system we developed through evolution was an ATP-fueled system that allowed for intense loads of work to be done in very brief bursts (think of our hunter-gatherer ancestors sprinting to the safety of a tree to avoid being eaten by a lion). ATP is always sitting right there within the muscle cells, available in a split second, and it is the highest octane fuel we have. In fact, it’s ATP and adrenaline that allow the little old lady to lift the front end of the Ford Fairlane off her husband when the jack fails. Unfortunately, the muscles can only store about 20 seconds worth of this precious fuel to complete life-or-death tasks. If our ancestors survived that quick sprint to safety, their ATP reserves were filled again within minutes using the other energy systems.

Maybe this isn't completely in line with the thread topic, but still an interesting concept nonetheless.

P.s. whats up with that soosyv guy? He seems like a real headcase...

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have you tried zinc as a suplement?

Zinc does quite a bit for the body. First, Zinc is crucial for health because it strengthens the immune system. It is also essential to cell division, growth, and repair. Zinc plays an important role in the detoxification of alcohol in the liver, aides in digestion, and increases the production of protein. Second, it is involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions, and aides the body in the actions of several hormones, such as growth hormone, testosterone, insulin, and estrogen. It also maintains blood cholesterol levels in the body that are already in normal range. Not meeting the recommended RDA for Zinc can adversely affect sex hormones and lead to muscle atrophy because protein synthesis will not be optimized in your body (according to rat studies). Recent studies show that people who work out and exercise are more likely to be Zinc deficient and, consequently, need more Zinc.

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Exercise can't not be good for you. But what specific types of exercise are best or what types of exercises our bodies were meant for is definitely something worth discussing.

YES-- well said! I completely agree. A lot of people might initially bash this idea because it sounds as though I might be suggesting exercise is "bad" for us, but I'm not. I am just talking about heavy weightlifting-- something about it just seems 'un-natural' to me-- the amount of stress and strain you put on your body by throwing up 200 pounds off your chest or gritting your teeth and popping a vein in your forehead as you burn out on that last preacher curl. Also, the surge in androgens you get by having your body synthesize all that added muscle...

I am going to keep exercising-- walking, light jogging, light cycling-- but am going to do away with the heavy weightlifting and intense sprinting drills/guerilla cardio I was doing up until a few weeks ago.

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