Does Creatine Cause Acne? Here's What Science Says

does creatine cause acne

There’s currently no scientific evidence of a connection between creatine supplements and acne.  However, creatine can increase dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, which has been associated with acne breakouts.


Whether you’re an athlete, everyday gym bro that enjoys breaking a sweat, or someone that just struggles with acne, you may start to wonder if the supplements you take to improve your health are actually causing your breakouts.

One of the culprits in question is creatine monohydrate.

In this article, we'll delve into the possible mechanisms and factors that may contribute to acne while taking creatine. Additionally, we'll discover some surprising benefits that creatine can offer for your skin. 

Let's dive in and uncover the truth about creatine and its relationship with acne.

Does Creatine Cause Acne?

Currently, there is no scientific evidence directly linking creatine consumption to acne breakouts. However, this does not rule out the possibility of creatine having an indirect impact on acne development. One potential mechanism involves the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Creatine has been shown to increase DHT levels, and elevated DHT levels have been associated with acne breakouts.

DHT is a hormone derived from testosterone that can stimulate the production of sebum, the oily substance that clogs pores and contributes to acne formation. Therefore, it is conceivable that increased DHT levels resulting from creatine supplementation could indirectly contribute to acne breakouts in susceptible individuals. However, more research is needed to establish a definitive link.

How Do Creatine Supplements Work?

Before we explore the possible connection between creatine and acne breakouts, let's first understand what creatine is and how it works. Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that plays a crucial role in energy production, particularly during high-intensity exercise. Our bodies produce creatine naturally, and it can also be obtained from dietary sources like red meat and fish.

Creatine supplements, such as creatine monohydrate, are popular among athletes and bodybuilders looking to enhance their athletic performance and build muscle mass. When you consume creatine supplements, it increases the body's creatine stores, allowing for improved ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the energy currency of our cells and is essential for muscle contraction, making it a valuable asset for those seeking to improve their strength and power output.

Other Causes of Acne While Taking Creatine

If you're experiencing acne breakouts while taking creatine, it's crucial to consider other factors that may be contributing to the issue. Here are two potential causes:

Excess Sweating from Exercise

High-intensity workouts and intense sweating can lead to clogged pores, which may contribute to acne outbreaks. Make sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly after exercising to remove sweat and impurities.

Not Showering After Workouts

Skipping showers after workouts can allow sweat, bacteria, and dirt to accumulate on the skin, leading to clogged pores and acne. Remember to cleanse your skin as soon as possible after exercising to minimize the risk of acne breakouts.

Dietary Changes

When incorporating creatine supplements into your routine, you may also be making other dietary changes. Certain foods, particularly those high in carbohydrates or processed sugars, can contribute to acne breakouts in some individuals. Even smoking weed can contribute to acne. Pay attention to your diet and consider maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious eating plan to support overall skin health.

Creatine May Actually Help Your Skin

While the potential connection between creatine and acne is worth exploring, it's important to note that creatine may offer benefits for your skin as well. 

Research has shown that topical creatine application can improve the appearance of the skin by reducing wrinkles and sagging. It can also protect against the damaging effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition discovered that creatine supplementation reduced the severity of UV-induced skin damage in human subjects.

These findings suggest that creatine, when applied topically, can be beneficial for skin care. However, it's essential to consult with a dermatologist before incorporating any new skincare products into your routine, including topical creatine.

You're in the Clear to Take Creatine

Despite the speculations surrounding creatine and acne breakouts, it is important to remember that there is currently no scientific evidence directly linking the two. If you're considering or currently taking creatine supplements, there's no need to worry about a face full of zits. Creatine can be a valuable dietary supplement for enhancing athletic performance and supporting muscle growth.

However, it's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before starting any new dietary supplement, including creatine. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs and help address any concerns you may have.

Whether you take creatine or not, it's crucial to maintain a healthy skincare routine. Cleanse your face regularly, moisturize, and protect your skin from UV radiation. If you're an athlete or engage in high-intensity exercise, consider using skincare products designed specifically for active individuals, like PrettyBoy—a skincare line tailored to the unique needs of athletes.

In conclusion, while there is currently no scientific evidence directly linking creatine supplements to acne breakouts, it's essential to remain mindful of your skincare routine, diet, and overall health. Stay informed, consult professionals, and make informed decisions to achieve clear and healthy skin while pursuing your fitness and wellness goals.

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