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Sweat: The Secret Cause of Acne

Annelise Hillmann • Jun 23, 2022

Though acne can have many causes (stress, hormones, and straight up genetics), one villain in the story that often gets overlooked is real simple. Sweat. Here's how it causes acne, and how you can avoid that.

Acne forms when bacteria gets trapped in pores

The bacteria that cause pimples are called Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes for short. These bacteria and other types live on your skin all the time, and are too microscopic to notice. P. acnes only become a problem when pores becomes blocked, when built up oil, sweat, dirt, sebum (wax) or dead skin cells form a "plug".

Sweat, dirt, and oil block pores and introduce bacteria 

Ever noticed how you break out more during a particularly sweaty summer? Or right after hitting the gym? That's because one sneaky side effect of sweat can be acne.

Sweat is made of 99% water and 1% salt and fat. Up to a quart of sweat evaporates off of your body each day. When your body becomes overheated, from exercise or normal life, you sweat more. Sweat can mix with the dirt or bacteria already on skin to block pores and create acne.

Our bodies respond to blocked pores by sending cells to kill the bacteria, which results in swelling and red bumps with white centers, known as pimples. It's really an immune response to a foreign body (dirt) being stuck in our skin.

Thus, removing sweat, dirt, & oil can keep pores clear & acne free

You might notice that areas with lots of sweat contact get more breakouts – like your back, groin, or butt. The best way to prevent sweat from creating acne is removing it as soon as possible. And we mean ASAP. Just finished a set at the gym? Trying to down that protein shake within 30 min? That's the perfect time for you to wash your face (and other affected parts of your body). I'm guilty of forgetting to shower immediately and realizing hours later that I still have gross sweat all over me from the gym. Luckily we've got something for that.

Zit Wipes, our breakout-busting daily facial wipes, are the easiest way to clean your face and prevent breakouts

No time to shower post-workout or practice? Getting a bit sweaty in a meeting? Fresh is the handy dandy little wipe that packs a punch. With dermatologist approved ingredients, this wipe flushes out the pores on your skin with effective ingredients like Salicylic Acid, Cactus, and Licorice. 

Salicylic Acid fights acne formation by exfoliating or removing dead skin cells. Cactus breaks down excess buildup in the pores, while also being antimicrobial. Licorice reverses hyperpigmentation (dark spots), calms inflammation like from acne, and softens skin.

Oh and it's also biodegradable and compostable, made naturally from cotton.

Zit wipes for men with acne prone skin