The Unexpected Reasons You're Probably Breaking Out
If you've been getting your groove back—either in the gym, or with that Channing Tatum lookalike you swiped right on a few months back—you may have noticed more unexpected breakouts taking shape than usual. What gives? As it turns out, those high-impact sessions could be causing fluctuations in your hormones, which in turn, can trigger an acne flare-up. "Studies show that anticipating sex, having sex, and cuddling after sex increases the level of testosterone in women," explains Miami-based dermatologist Dr. Manjula Jegasothy. "The slight increase can help increase your sexual desire, make you feel sexier, and improve your mood, but on the downside, excess testosterone can cause acne." Additionally, high-intensity exercises, like weight training or CrossFit, increase both cortisol and testosterone levels, could be the reason you'll notice a brand new bump forming immediately after a workout.
Luckily, these pimples can be treated in the same way you tackle your everyday breakouts. Dr. Jegasothy recommends dealing with the issue before it has time to surface by either using a salicylic acid-rich cleanser like Neutrogena's ($8; drugstore.com) at home, or getting a salicylic peel every few weeks. "This reduces oil production and prevents pores from clogging," she explains. "You can also apply a layer of salicylic acid cleanser as a mask on affected areas for 20 minutes." Though if you get especially oily, you'll want to invest in a benzoyl peroxide-based gel, either to use all over or as a spot treatment—Dr. Jegasothy suggests the Oxy Rapid Spot Treatment ($5; walmart.com). Additionally, lower-impact exercises won't run as high of a risk of rising testosterone levels. Try seeking out an activity that keeps your heart rate at 60% for roughly 40 minutes, like a cardio dance class. As for that Channing Tatum lookalike? We respect your game. You do you, sister.