Are you an avid weight lifter or an avid exercise enthusiast. Then you perhaps have tried using creatine to gain muscle and strength. Am I right? There’s also a good chance that you’ve had to deal with some acne issues along the way.
Some people have asked me, “Does creatine cause acne?” I, unfortunately, didn’t have the answer for them for quite some time. After being asked on a handful of occasions, I knew it was time for me to do further research on the subject and determine whether or not this bodybuilding supplement is destroying people’s skin.
There’s no doubt about it, creatine definitely does effect certain things within your body. Knowing what to look for is most important. But first, let’s cover some of the basics…
What Is Creatine And Does It Cause Acne To Form?
Before I answer the golden question, let me explain what creatine is and what it does to your body in general. Creatine is something that your body naturally produces. It’s produced by your kidneys and liver. The creatine then gets stored in your muscles.
Some people supplement with creatine that’s been produced synthetically. Many people don’t eat enough fish or meat to get an adequate amount of creatine necessary.
People that don’t eat meat or fish often find their bodies deprived of creatine, so they seek alternative routes to boost things back to normal. If you’re a bodybuilder or you’re super into fitness, then you likely take creatine in the form of powder. You can also take this in capsule form as well as caplets. I personally prefer powders.
Did you know that there are a couple of different types of creatine that exist out there? For example, there’s monohydrate (most popular), ethyl ester, creatine liquid, and something known as tri-creatine malate.
Many people complain about developing acne while taking this but they often put that aside and take the gains in the gym first and foremost. This supplement can really help you kick things into high-gear from and energy perspective. I’ve crushed workouts for years taking this supplement and my face doesn’t look like a pepperoni pizza. That was a bit harsh, I’m not making fun of anyone here that has acne, just trying to keep things light and fun!
Anyway, I’ll wrap up my overview about the supplement stating that it works if you want to boost your energy and gain muscle mass. Now on to the acne…
Creatine, Acne, and Facts (Kinda)
I hate to burst your bubble, but I don’t have hard evidence that taking creatine is connected to acne development. However, there are a few things that I can say about some studies that were conducted.
1) International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism claims that a study in ’06 resulted in testosterone levels increasing as a result of taking creatine.
2) Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine had athletes take creatine for three straight weeks. Apparently, their DHT hormone levels increased while doing so.
3) International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism saw an increase in IGF-1 levels of 24% of participants that took creatine during a study in ’08.
Basically, what this tells us is that our bodies change as a result of taking the creatine supplement. It looks as though most of it stems from testosterone levels increasing as well as growth hormone levels.
DHT and testosterone have a direct impact on the production of sebum within your body. In addition to that, IGF-1 indirectly impacts sebum production and can often cause an increase in these levels.
Does Taking Supplements Containing Creatine Cause Acne To Form?
I personally can only confidently state that creatine does not directly cause acne. Using creatine can cause hormone levels and testosterone levels to increase, which may be related but they certainly don’t cause acne to form. However, if you already have acne, it definitely can make your skin worse.
Are There Other Factors To Consider?
Absolutely, there are many other factors for you to consider if you’re breaking out while taking creatine. If you’re drinking a lot of sports drinks then you may be doing harm to your skin. I’m talking about those drinks filled with sugar. They cause your blood sugar levels to increase which can cause you to breakout more.
Next on the list is excessive exercise. Working out too much causes your stress levels to increase. When your body tries to react to this, your insulin and sugar levels will increase as a result. Cortisol is also released when this happens. News flash, none of these things are good for your skin and can cause acne to form.
Do you ever feel dehydrated when taking creatine? That’s because your body is literally dehydrated. Your toxin levels can increase when taking creatine as a result of having less water circulating throughout your body. This in turn, can cause skin issues and extra dry skin to form.
Fighting Acne While Taking Creatine Supplements
If you’re taking creatine and you want to reduce the risk of developing acne, then you need to do what I’m about to tell you to do. You don’t have to sacrifice your muscle mass for good looking skin. Start by doing the following…
Kick Alcohol and Caffeine
Drinking alcohol is terrible for your body. If you drink too much alcohol, you’re only hurting yourself. Not to mention, it dehydrates you. Same goes for caffeine and consuming too much of that as well. Get on a solid diet that contains less of both and you’ll be fine.
Cut Back Sugar
If you’re eating sugary foods and desserts, then you’re wasting your time in the gym to begin with. Sugar causes your insulin to spike dramatically and as a result, your skin can get very oily.
Lots Of Water
Creatine requires excess water. If you’re not willing to drink at least 10 glasses of water per day, then you shouldn’t be taking any creatine. When supplementing with this, water travels into your muscles to make you look full. That means other parts of your body are deprived of that water, such as your skin.
Conclusion: Creatine Does Not Cause Acne
To the best of my knowledge, it’s not the creatine that causes acne but the changes in your body while taking creatine. I am not suggesting that you stop taking this completely. I’m simply stating that you need to pay close attention to your body and skin while doing so. Just be aware and know your body. If you have a breakout, then look further into it!