No, sweating does not cause acne. But, if you get bumps that look like acne from working out and/or sweating, what you may be experiencing is something called folliculitis—aka pityrosporum folliculitis. It is an infection of the hair follicle thought to be caused by the common cutaneous yeast, Malassezia furfur.
A clue that it could be folliculitis and not acne is that the bumps “come and go” and sometimes can be itchy. I used to get red bumps out of nowhere on my chest which would then mysteriously disappear again. I know now that what I was dealing with was folliculitis.
Typical areas of folliculitis are the forehead, the chest, and the buttocks (especially for bikers).
Content provided courtesy of Face Reality Acne Clinic. Wendy Christman is a Face Reality Acne Specialist providing quality acne treatments in the Olympia, WA area.