Can Creatine Cause Acne? A Dermatologist’s Perspective

Can Creatine Cause Acne?

Can Creatine Cause Acne? A Dermatologist’s Perspective

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions worldwide, leading many to wonder about its potential triggers. In the world of fitness, one supplement, in particular, has been the center of attention: creatine. But, can creatine cause acne in reality? If so, is there a difference between creatine gummies and creatine powder in causing acne? Let’s dive in.

Introduction: Acne & Its Complex Causes

Before delving into the relationship between creatine and acne, it’s essential to understand the nature of acne itself.

Acne is a multifactorial condition influenced by genetics, hormonal fluctuations, diet, stress, and even environmental factors1. Any discussion about acne triggers should be approached with this complexity in mind.

Creatine & Acne: The Connection

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a natural substance that turns into creatine phosphate in the body. This helps to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides energy for muscle contractions2. Because of its role in enhancing athletic performance, creatine supplements have become popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

The Debate: Creatine and Acne

Despite its benefits, there has been speculation around creatine causing acne breakouts. Here’s what the evidence says:

  • Hormonal Fluctuations: Creatine can increase levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone linked to acne development3. Elevated DHT levels may increase sebum production, leading to clogged pores and acne.
  • Purity Issues: Some low-quality creatine supplements might be contaminated with substances that could trigger or exacerbate acne.
  • Indirect Factors: Creatine might lead to increased workouts and sweating (more on does sweat cause acne later). Intensified workouts without proper skincare can increase the likelihood of breakouts.

However, it’s worth noting that direct clinical evidence linking creatine to acne is limited. More comprehensive research is required to determine the exact relationship.

Creatine Gummies vs. Creatine Powder: Is There a Difference?

Creatine supplements come in various forms, with gummies and powders being among the most popular. But does the form of creatine play a role in acne development?

Creatine Gummies

Gummies often contain added sugars, artificial colors, and flavors. Some believe that these additives can contribute to acne, especially in those sensitive or allergic to these components4. While the link between sugar and acne isn’t firmly established, high sugar intake can lead to insulin spikes, potentially exacerbating acne in some individuals.

Creatine Powder

Pure creatine powder typically has fewer additives than gummies. However, the purity can vary between brands. Always opting for a reputable brand ensures that you’re getting a clean product without harmful contaminants.

The Verdict

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that one form of creatine is more likely to cause acne than the other. However, individuals should be aware of other ingredients in the product they choose and monitor their skin’s response.

Does Sweat Cause Acne?

Another aspect to consider in the creatine-acne discussion is the role of sweat. As those consuming creatine often engage in intensive workouts, they sweat more.

Sweating in itself doesn’t directly cause acne. However:

  • Clogged Pores: Sweat can mix with makeup, dirt, and oil on the skin’s surface, leading to clogged pores.
  • Friction: Wearing tight clothes during workouts can cause friction and trap sweat, leading to acne mechanica, a type of acne caused by heat, friction, and covered skin.

To minimize sweat-related acne:

  • Cleanse your face pre and post-workout.
  • Wear breathable fabrics.
  • Shower immediately after intense physical activity.

Acne Self-Care: Essential Tips for Clear Skin

Regardless of whether you’re taking creatine, following these general acne self-care guidelines can help maintain clear skin:

  • Cleanse Regularly: Use a gentle cleanser twice a day.
  • Exfoliate: Use a mild exfoliant once a week to remove dead skin cells.
  • Moisturize: Even oily skin needs hydration. Opt for non-comedogenic moisturizers.
  • Use Sunscreen: Sun damage can worsen acne and scars. Protect your skin daily using sunscreen.
  • Avoid Popping Pimples: This can lead to scars and infections.


The connection between creatine and acne remains a debated topic. While there’s some evidence suggesting a potential link, the relationship isn’t fully understood. Whether you choose creatine gummies or powder, it’s crucial to monitor your skin and opt for high-quality products. As always, maintaining a consistent skincare routine is the key to a clear complexion.


  1. Zaenglein, A. L., Pathy, A. L., Schlosser, B. J., Alikhan, A., Baldwin, H. E., Berson, D. S., … & Bhushan, R. (2016). Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 74(5), 945-973.e33. 
  2. Buford, T. W., Kreider, R. B., Stout, J. R., Greenwood, M., Campbell, B., Spano, M., … & Antonio, J. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 6.
  3. Van der Merwe, J., Brooks, N. E., & Myburgh, K. H. (2009). Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 19(5), 399-404.
  4. Bowe, W. P., & Logan, A. C. (2011). Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis: from anecdote to translational medicine. Beneficial microbes, 2(2), 99-107.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice and treatment.


Hopefully this article was helpful in your skincare journey.  Welcome to Divine Dermatology, PLLC, your beacon for skin care in St. Petersburg, Florida. Under the skilled guidance of Carol Sims-Robertson, MD, our office celebrates all skin types and ages, curating personalized treatments that enhance your natural beauty.

From teens battling acne to adults seeking anti-aging remedies, we offer innovative solutions that cater to every person’s unique needs. At Divine Dermatology, PLLC, we believe in using our expertise so beauty transcends age and skin type. Trust us to transform your skin, elevating your confidence, and revealing the most beautiful you. 

Click here to Schedule your Free Skin Evaluation Today or call us at (727) 528-0321. Embrace the Divine Dermatology difference – where your path to beauty begins.