Creatine is a sports supplement used for increased energy and performance which is often taken by athletes and fitness enthusiasts. However, many people who use creatine often find that they have an increase in acne breakouts at the same time. Is there a genuine connection between creatine and acne? Does it actually cause acne?

What is creatine?

Creatine is essentially used by sportspersons who participate in heavy sports like weightlifting, wrestling and sprinting. It is a rapid available source of energy for muscle contractions. It is generally regarded as a safe supplement if taken in the recommended dosages and is fine for women to take. It is universally recognized as offering the potential to increase maximal strength and endurance by up to 15% in speed sports as well as intensive weight training, even in the short term. Creatine is a nutrient that is naturally found in our muscles and available in foods such as fish and meats, along with trace amounts found in plants. It is stored in the human body as creatine phosphate (CP) also called phosphocreatine. The body manufactures the creatine in the liver and kidneys, and it is transported in the blood to the muscles. In actual fact, over 95 percent of the body's creatine is located in muscle tissue. There have been hundreds of scientific studies on creatine that show that is increases lean muscle mass, improves energy levels, increases muscle strength and size and improves exercise performance.

Can creatine cause acne?

Creatine itself actually doesn't cause acne. However, there are many indirect results of taking creatine that can contribute to increase in acne breakouts.

1. Dehydration is the primary side effect of using creatine. Bodily fluids are removed by creatine and the water is taken and absorbed by the muscles in order to reload the muscle tissue thus allowing the sportsperson to recover from sport more rapidly. This can lead to an increase in acne by reducing the water in the skin, causing dehydration. Dehyrated skin is less effective at removing toxins and oils in the skin that can lead to acne.

2. It is generally advised to take creatine with fruit juices or high sugar energy drinks. If you don't usually get acne thats fine. However, if you are acne prone extra hormones could be released triggered by an insulin spike because of the increase in blood sugar. The increase in hormones will most probably cause more acne breakouts.

3. Increased level of exercise is another reason why you may have more acne. Because creatine allows you to perform for longer when exercising you may naturally increase the amount of testosterone in the body which can defiantly increase your acne.

Can I continue using creatine but prevent acne?

You can, and the biggest thing you can do is ensure that you stay properly hydrated throughout the day and drink lots of water. You should also try and take creatine with water instead of the recommend fruit juices. This will not taste as nice and it may take longer to be absorbed into your muscles but it may reduce your acne. If doing this you should still consume some sorts of carbohydrates to ensure absorption. The alternative is to stop taking creatine and hope that the acne may go away all together, but then your training may suffer as a result.