does pre workout cause acne

Does Pre Workout Cause Acne? [According to Dermatologists]

Pre workout is popular among young athletes and fitness-minded people looking to get gains in the gym. This same demographic is also effected by acne at the highest levels. Could pre workout be causing acne in some of these young people?

Does Pre Workout Cause Acne?

Pre workout hasn’t been linked directly to acne or skin issues. However, we’re going to take a closer look at the ingredients in pre workout to determine if your pre workout is responsible for causing acne.

“It turns out that there are no meta-analyses, randomized controlled clinical studies, or well-designed scientific trials that follow evidence-based guidelines for providing solid proof in dealing with this issue.” — Apostolos Pappas, Ph.D., The Relationship of Diet and Acne.

It’s difficult to directly blame anything we consume to acne. If you find that whenever you take pre workout you wake up the next day with acne, you should probably stop taking that pre workout. There are alternatives to pre workout, like coffee or tea, that can provide similar effects.

What Ingredients in Pre Workout Cause Acne?


Many pre workouts include high doses of caffeine. We’re talking more than 150mg per serving. Some pre workouts have more than 350mg of caffeine per serving.

Now that is a lot of caffeine. For reference, one cup of coffee contains around 95mg of caffeine. One serving of pre workout may contain the same amount of caffeine as 3+ cups of coffee.

So how exactly does caffeine play a role in causing acne?

Caffeine Dehydrates You

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases production of urine. So if you drink a lot of caffeine, you may become dehydrated.

When you’re dehydrated, so is your skin. If you consume caffeine every day, you could be chronically dehydrated. This doesn’t allow your body to get rid of toxins which could show up in your skin.

If you find yourself getting breakouts after drinking coffee, tea or pre workout, try increasing your water intake.

Caffeine May Lead to Stress and Anxiety

Caffeine is a stimulant. When you consume caffeine, your body increases its stress responses. After drinking caffeinated drinks, your body produces more cortisol and androgens as a response to the stimulant.

This effect leads to the jitters and anxiousness that some people may experience when they take caffeine. Increased stress has been shown to trigger hormones that could cause acne.

For people who find the stimulant effects unpleasant, we recommend stimulant-free pre workouts.

Artificial Sweeteners

Many pre-workout manufacturers try to create supplements with zero calories. As a result many turn to artificial sweeteners.

If your pre workout contains artificial sweeteners like Sucralose, Aspartame, or Saccharin, you should try to find a better alternative.

Artificial sweeteners can destroy your gut bacteria that help regulate your digestive system. When your gut isn’t healthy that can show up in other health areas, like your skin.

Your body doesn’t use these sweeteners in a natural way, so it eliminates them through urine or sweat. Those that get released as sweat can cause inflammation, acne breakouts and blocked pores.

Try avoiding artificial sweeteners for a few weeks to see if your acne clears up. If so, try to find a pre workout without these ingredients.

Other Supplements

Before we jump to blame pre workout for acne breakouts, we encourage you to look at the other supplements you’re using.

Supplements like mass gainers are notorious for containing all sorts of “dirty” ingredients, just to pack in more calories. Whey protein is a dairy product, which are commonly thought to cause acne.

If you take branch-chain amino acids, those may also contain artificial sweeteners and fillers.

According to a study published in the Journal for the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology, high doses of vitamins B6 and B12 were linked to skin issues. Some pre workouts contain these vitamins, so check your supplement’s nutrition label for these vitamins.

If you’re going to look at your pre workout, you should also examine your entire diet to see what could be causing or worsening your acne.

Best Pre Workout for Acne-Prone Skin

If you’re struggling with acne, there are pre workout options you can use. We recommend looking for the cleanest pre workout possible.

This means you should find an option with limited artificial sweeteners, no unnecessary fillers, and no proprietary blends.

Truth Sports Pre-Workout

truth sports pre workout

Why Use Truth Sports Pre-Workout?

Truth Sports Pre-workout combines plant-based amino acids, electrolytes, caffeine and superfood that work together synergistically to improve energy, mood, and focus. This is a great, clean option for athletes looking to increase strength and endurance while reducing fatigue.

Vega Sport Energizer

Vega sport energizer pre workout

Why Use Vega Sport Energizer?

Power up & power through. Get caffeine from natural sources to help you focus through your toughest workouts.

  • 100mg of natural caffeine
  • Vitamin B12 for metabolic boost
  • Electrolytes for hydration
  • Vitamin C to support immune function

Transparent Labs LEAN Pre-Workout

transparent labs lean

Why Use Transparent Labs LEAN?

Transparent Labs LEAN was developed to be the best cutting pre workout supplement available. The key ingredients, citrulline malate, beta-alanine, betaine, and branched-chain amino acids, are all included at clinically effective dosages and contain zero colored dyes, unnecessary fillers, or harmful additives.

With 100% formula transparency and a potent Fat Burning and Thyroid Support complex, which includes Chromium Picolinate and Zinc, PreSeries LEAN is most effective for those looking to target stubborn fat, while simultaneously focusing on preventing lean muscle loss. 

Legion Pulse Pre Workout

legion pulse pre workout

Why Use Legion Pulse?

Legion Pulse pre workout helps improve energy and focus for your workouts. This is a 100 percent natural pre workout drink that provides benefits beyond just energy from caffeine. You’ll also get mood-boosting and focus-sharpening ingredients.

Every ingredient in Legion Pulse is peer-reviewed and is dosed at clinically effective levels.

Naked Energy Pre Workout

naked energy pre workout

Why Use Naked Energy?

Naked Energy is a clean pre-workout supplement, formulated with non-GMO ingredients. This pre workout is vegan-friendly. Naked Energy will provide a boost of energy, strength and power to give you the extra edge in the gym. Naked uses no additives or artificial sweeteners.

  • Improved Exercise Performance
  • Enhanced Mental Focus
  • Faster Recovery

Conclusion: Does Pre Workout Cause Acne?

There is not direct link between pre workout and acne breakouts. However, some of the ingredients in pre workout and their effects may cause skin health issues.

If you struggle with acne, you may want to ask your physician or dermatologist what the best course of action is. If you’re already taking pre workout and want a cleaner option, try one of the products mentioned in this article.