Creatine and Acne: What You Need to Know?

If you’re a regular gym goer, even one that rarely pumps iron, chances are you’ve heard about Creatine.

If you’re a weightlifter, a body builder or you’re just looking for ways to get extra energy then you’ve definitely heard of Creatine.

There are many myths and rumors revolving around this substance and one of the most popular ones is that Creatine causes acne… but does it?

Keep reading to find out!

What Is Creatine?

creatine causes acne

Creatine is a protein-like compound that’s naturally generated by our bodies and stored into our skeletal muscles. It can be produced synthetically and consumed as a form to increase energy levels before, during and after your workout.

Creatine can be found in three forms; caplets, capsules and flavored powders and can be mixed with water and other liquids in order to create the perfect pre-workout meal.

Because of its availability, affordability and the fact that it’s very effective, Creatine is one of the most popular supplements out there so it makes sense that people have had all kinds of reactions to it.

Does Creatine Causes Acne?

Let’s cut to the chase, there are no documented direct relations between acne and creatine consumption but creatine has been linked to certain factors, such as increased testosterone and fluctuating hormone levels that can lead to breakouts and even acne in certain individuals.

Increased Testosterone Levels

In controlled studies, up to 22% of people taking creatine also had increased testosterone levels.

Testosterone is a “male-type” hormone that’s known to increase the production of skin sebum, which can lead to clogging, which in turn can lead to breakouts and acne.

Women are particularly susceptible to increased testosterone levels which means they’re more likely to develop hormonal acne than men.

Increased Hormone DHT Levels

In controlled studies, a 3 week long consumption of creatine lead to increased DHT hormone levels.

DHT causes inflammation, which can lead to clogged pores and acne. Just like with testosterone, women are remarkably sensitive to this type of hormone and they’re more likely to break out when this hormone levels increase.

Not everything is bad for women, though. Elevated DHT levels can also lead to hair loss, but it’s more prevalent in men. (Though not unheard of in women)

Insulin Fluctuations

Another side effect of Creatine is insulin fluctuations. Unbalanced insulin levels are one of the main culprits behind breakouts and acne and getting it under control isn’t only important for your skin but also for your overall health as insulin is absolutely vital for people.

Insulin stimulates skin sebum production, which can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

As you can see, Creatine does increase your chances of breaking out or developing acne but it’s not a sure thing, mainly because there are plenty of factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as your diet and personal habits.

If you’ve started taking creatine and have noticed a couple of new pimples and blackheads here and there, don’t be so hasty in blaming this supplement. Here are certain factors that can be causing your acne:


This supplement works by taking water from your body and directing it to your muscles, which gives them the energy to keep going and makes them look bigger.

People sweat during workouts and the fact that your body is using even more water than usual can quickly lead to dehydration.

When your body doesn’t have enough water, its capacity to flush out waste is diminished which can lead to waste buildup, which in turn can lead to breakouts.


There’s such thing as “too much exercise” and when you reach that your body tends to react in rather peculiar ways

One of the side effects of too much exercise is increased blood sugar levels can trigger inflammation in your body, which in turn can lead to waste buildup and, you guessed it, breakouts and acne.

Keep in mind that acne is, itself, an inflammation of the body so if you already have acne, inflammation caused by overexertion can make it worse.

Sports Drinks

Delicious and useful as they might be, sports drinks are absolutely loaded with sugar which is hell on your skin all by itself.

To make things worse, sugar can increase your blood sugar level, which can lead to inflammation, which can lead to buildup and…yep, you guessed it. It can lead to breakouts.

As you can see, while creatine can form the perfect conditions for breakouts and acne, it’s not the only culprit behind these things.

 If you want to find out what’s causing your breakouts or you want to minimize the risks of developing acne, there are a handful of easy things you can do:

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking enough water is important no matter what but it becomes twice as important when you’re taking creatine. Make sure to drink between 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, though keep in mind that there is such thing as “too much water”, so don’t go around drinking gallon after gallon.


Creatine is a great source of energy but it shouldn’t be your only one. Remember to eat at the same time as you take creatine in order to give your body enough fuel and prevent draiing your creatine levels.

Consume Less Sugar

An increased consumption of sugar can lead to an increased level of sugar in the blood, which can lead to inflammation and buildups.

Help your body produce less insulin by eating and drinking less sugar. This also means cutting back on your sports drinks, limiting them to a small one per day during workouts or even just half of it.

There’s nothing wrong with water, you know?

So there you have it. While certain side effects of creatine can make it easier to get breakouts, there are other factors you should keep in mind before blaming this supplement.

If you’ve noticed more pimples and blackheads on your skin than usual, make sure you’re properly hydrated and your diet good before stopping your creatine consumption. 

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