If you get pimples after a sweaty workout, you aren’t the only man struggling with this annoying problem. Sweat pimples are unfortunately common in men because we tend to sweat more than women.

What should you do about sweat pimples? Here is what you should know:

  • Although we have the same number of active sweat glands, men are more susceptible to sweat pimples than women.
  • Sweat does not directly cause acne. However, it can mix with oil and dirt to clog pores.
  • The most effective way to treat and prevent sweat pimples is to establish a regular skin care regimen using products formulated for men.

Why Men Sweat More than Women Do

Although we have the same number of active sweat glands as women, we produce more sweat per gland. This is true whether you’re a seasoned athlete or—as one study so nicely puts it—"untrained.”

Men produce not only more sweat, but more oil as well. This is due to the higher amount of testosterone in our bodies, which stimulates our oil-secreting sebaceous glands. The excess sweat and oil we produce creates the perfect environment for bacteria-causing acne.

However, it’s not all bad news for men. Both sweat and oil play important roles in keeping our skin healthy and—believe it or not—clean.

portrait fatigued young man

Why Sweat Is Not the Enemy

As frustrating as sweat pimples can be, giving up your gym sessions isn’t the answer to your skin care woes. Sweat is not the direct cause of your acne. In fact, sweating can be beneficial to your skin.

Researchers in Germany discovered that sweat secretes an antimicrobial peptide which helps kill harmful micro-organisms. The peptide, dubbed Dermcidin, may play a key role in defending the body against a wide range of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

Sweat also works to cool the body and can even clean pores. A 2011 study found that many toxic impurities are found in sweat, which suggests that sweat may help remove acne-causing bacteria from the pores.

The Connection Between Sweat and Acne

If sweat is good for the body, why do you seem to break out after going to the gym? The following might be to blame:

  • Dirty gym equipment  Gym equipment is laden with bacteria that can cause acne. Every time you do pushups on the ground or grab a set of weights, you’re picking up potentially harmful bacteria that can be transferred to your face if you don’t wash your hands.
  • Tight clothes  Many guys wear spandex shirts that move with their body. But tight clothing can spread bacteria into open pores, resulting in breakouts along the chest and back.
  • Genetics  Some men are more likely to break out after sweating due to genetics. If your parents are/were acne-prone, the chances of you being acne-prone are high as well.
  • Wiping your face with a dirty towel  Sweat towels are another sneaky source of bacteria and can cause acne when you spread it into your face. Towels can also cause mild irritation if they are washed using harsh detergents.

tiege hanley product line

How to Treat and Prevent Sweat Pimples

To prevent sweat pimples, the obvious solution is to wash off sweat shortly after a workout. But if you find that your acne persists, the problem could be how you’re cleaning your face.

A splash of water on your face post-workout isn’t enough to prevent sweat pimples. The same goes for using a bar of soap! Gentlemen, it’s time to upgrade to a men’s facial cleanser that is specifically formulated for your skin.

After washing away the dirt and oil, exfoliate with a gentle men’s face scrub (use it only twice per week.) Follow up with a powerful moisturizer and your skin will be clear, smooth and handsome for years to come.

If those pesky sweat pimples simply won’t go away, consider adding Tiege Hanley’s Daily Moisturizing Acne Cream to your skin care regimen. This bad boy contains Salicylic Acid, a known acne-fighter that is gentle on the skin, but tough on acne.

Final Thoughts

Sweat is natural and can be beneficial for both the skin and the entire body. However, it can also contribute to acne if you let it sit on your skin for too long.

To prevent sweat pimples from appearing, it’s crucial that you don’t neglect your post-workout skin care regimen. A simple routine of washing, exfoliating and moisturizing is all it takes to remain blemish-free after exercising.

Just be sure to use skin care products formulated for men. It’s a fact that men and women have different skin—so why treat them with the same products? Tiege Hanley’s high-quality skin care products are made to penetrate a man’s skin and are developed for all skin-types—including sensitive skin.