Skip to Content

Does Creatine Cause Acne? (EXPLAINED)

Excessive sweat, protein powder, locker room bacteria – elements of your workout might be causing your breakouts. But does creatine cause acne? Maybe you’re taking it as a supplement or getting extra creatine through your red meats and fish to boost muscle mass. 

Table of Contents

Does Creatine Cause Acne?

Creatine itself doesn’t cause acne, but in a roundabout way, it can encourage acne.

Creatine directly increases dihydrotestosterone levels, a hormone that forces your skin to ramp up oil production. In turn, the excess oils on your skin can clog your pores and cause acne. (Fair warning: excess dihydrotestosterone is also known to speed up hair loss.)

So while no studies have directly named creatine as a cause of acne…consuming more creatine is not necessarily helping out your acne situation (you’re better off trying taking these vitamins to combat oily skin).

If you use creatine but don’t think you have a problem with oily skin, then it might not be the creatine that’s causing your acne after all.

Lots of guys use creatine as a supplement to their daily workout…in that case, it might actually be sweat that’s causing your acne. Sweat and acne are sort of a catch 22. Sweating is a great way to simultaneously de-clog and re-clog your pores, so it can help or hurt your skin care situation.

Protein powders are also known to cause the same problems with oil and acne that creatine does. So if you use both creatine and a protein powder, it could be either that’s encouraging your zits.

What Does Creatine Do To Your Skin?

Ignoring the possible acne side-effect that we just talked about, creatine is actually vital for your skin.

Creatine repairs skin damage, and it can improve the appearance of wrinkles and sun spots. Some lotions and creams use it as a revitalizing ingredient, and studies have shown that it improves the turnover of your skin. Applying creatine topically is one of the best ways to get all those benefits.

That’s the power of oily skin. Your natural oils are great moisturizers, but left unattended, they have those negative side effects like redness, irritation, acne, and more.

Why Does Creatine Make You Break Out?

Before you blame creatine, make sure it’s not your lack of a decent skin care routine that’s making you break out.

Sure, like we talked about before, creatine will make your skin more oily than you’re used to. And that can clog your pores with pimples. But really, instead of blaming the creatine, you should be blaming yourself for not washing your face enough.

Creatine will only make you break out if you’re wallowing in oily skin. And if you’re not suffering from oily skin, but you still find yourself breaking out, it’s probably not caused by the creatine you’re consuming.

What Steps Should Someone Take To Prevent Acne Breakouts From Creatine?

You should start by using the best face wash for oily skin.

By now, you’re well aware that creatine increases your dihydrotestosterone levels, which increases your oil production, which increases your pimple count. Rather than skipping out on creatine, you can take care of the problem at its root by being consistent with your skincare routine.

You should be using a scrub 2-3 times per week, cleansing your skin daily, and applying a good moisturizer to your skin afterwards. If possible, try to grab a really good toner for men, serum, and oil for good measure (make sure read this guide on glycolic acid vs salicylic acid before buying anything acne related though).

And lastly, be patient with your skin when it’s in the process of healing. Acne, no matter its cause, is unpleasant, but it takes consistency and time to clear up your skin.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.