Last update: June 11, 2024

8 minute read

Does Taking Creatine Cause Acne? (The Truth)

Explore the truth about creatine and acne with expert insights and personalized vitamin guidance for your health. Uncover the potential benefits and risks for optimal wellness.

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Jacquie Leone, NMD, HN

Learn more about our editorial standards

Is your skin breakout related to taking creatine? While some gym-goers might think that creatine is to blame for acne, no scientific evidence directly links creatine to acne outbreaks.

In this article, you'll discover the facts behind creatine and its relationship with your skin, and learn how to support your athletic performance without worrying about unwanted side effects like pimples.

Key takeaways

  • There’s no scientific evidence that directly links creatine to acne breakouts
  • Creatine is beneficial for muscle strength, endurance, and overall exercise performance
  • Acne while taking creatine may be influenced by other factors like hormones, diet, and sleep

    Does taking creatine cause acne?

    Despite concerns, creatine has not been scientifically proven to directly cause acne. While some people say there might be a link, there's not enough solid evidence to be sure.

    Acne is a complex skin condition influenced by many factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and lifestyle choices. If you're thinking about using creatine and worried about acne, it's a good idea to take care of your skin, drink enough water, and consider other things like your diet and stress levels.

    What is creatine and how is it used?

    Creatine is an amino acid that's naturally produced by your body and found in certain foods like red meat and seafood. As a supplement, usually in the form of creatine monohydrate, it's praised for improving athletic performance and muscle growth. People usually turn to it for an extra push in their workout routines, counting on its ability to:

    • Support strength gains
    • Support muscle endurance
    • Support muscle mass
    • Support recovery times

    What types of creatine supplements are available?

    While creatine monohydrate is by far the most common and researched form, many other varieties each have its own unique properties.

    • Creatine monohydrate: The most researched and widely used form of creatine. It's well-known for its effectiveness and affordability. Many studies support the benefits of creatine monohydrate in improving strength and power.
    • Creatine hydrochloride (HCL): A form of creatine bound with hydrochloric acid. It's marketed as a more soluble and potentially more easily absorbed form of creatine, which may benefit people with digestive issues that are using creatine monohydrate.
    • Creatine ethyl ester: Creatine ethyl ester is created by attaching an ester molecule to creatine. It was once marketed as having better absorption and bioavailability, but research supporting these claims is limited.
    • Buffered creatine (Kre-Alkalyn): Buffered creatine is made by adjusting the pH level of creatine, to supposedly make it more stable in liquid and reduce conversion to creatinine (a byproduct). However, scientific evidence supporting many advantages over creatine monohydrate is limited.
    • Micronized creatine: Micronized creatine consists of smaller particles than regular creatine powder. The idea is that these smaller particles may dissolve more easily in liquid, potentially supporting absorption. It's a form of creatine monohydrate that has gone through a micronization process.
    • Creatine nitrate: In creatine nitrate, creatine is combined with a nitrate molecule. Some people suggest that this may improve the solubility and absorption of creatine, but research on its effectiveness is limited compared to creatine monohydrate.
    • Liquid creatine: Liquid creatine is a pre-dissolved form of creatine that comes in liquid form. However, it’s less popular due to concerns about the stability and effectiveness of creatine in liquid form.
    VitaRx Tip

    Even with all of these forms, creatine monohydrate remains the most effective and cost-effective option.

    Could other factors contribute to acne while taking creatine?

    If you're dealing with acne while taking creatine, there could be reasons other than the supplement itself. Consider these factors:

    • Endocrine Disorders: Endocrine (gland) disorders, like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, can increase your risk for acne.
    • Genes: Your family history might influence whether you're more likely to get acne.
    • Diet: Eating a lot of sugary or high-glycemic foods might contribute to acne.
    • Excessive sunlight: Too much sun exposure can cause acne.
    • Skincare: Oil-based products and facial massage may lead to acne breakouts.
    • Insulin resistance: A high level if insulin resistance leads to an excessive amount of sebum excretion, leading to acne.
    • Stress: Stress may trigger hormonal changes that lead to acne.
    • Medications: Medications that treat seizures, steroids, and lithium come with acne as a possible side effect.
    • Tight and protective clothing: Underwire bras, headbands, and shoulder pads increase your risk for acne.
    • Female: People born of the female sex are more likely than males to live with acne.

    What are the potential side effects of creatine?

    Taking creatine is generally safe, but like any supplement, it may have some potential side effects. One common effect is water retention, meaning your body may hold more water as a result, causing a slight increase in weight, but it's mostly water, not fat.

    Some people may experience an upset stomach or cramps when they start taking creatine, and drinking more water may help relieve these issues.

    Muscle cramps are rare but possible, and staying hydrated and not exceeding recommended doses may reduce the risk. Digestive problems like diarrhea may occur in a few people, and adjusting the dosage or taking it with food might help. While concerns about kidney damage are rare, it's important for people with kidney issues to talk to a doctor before using creatine.

    Plus, creatine may interact with certain medications, so it's good to check with a healthcare professional if you're taking any medications. Overall, most people tolerate creatine well, and side effects may often be managed with proper hydration and dosage adjustments.

    How may creatine positively affect health and exercise?

    Creatine may bring some really good benefits to your health and workouts. First off, it gives your muscles a quick energy boost, which is perfect for short and intense activities like lifting weights or sprinting.

    Plus, it may make you stronger, letting you lift heavier things during your workouts. This means your exercises may be more effective, whether you're doing more reps or running faster.

    Creatine also helps build muscle mass, which is great if you're looking to get stronger. Another cool thing is that it might speed up your muscle recovery after a tough workout, so you may get back to exercising sooner. Some studies even suggest that creatine is good for your brain, helping with things like memory and thinking.

    Advantages and disadvantages of taking creatine

    Creatine, much like any other supplement, comes with its own set of pros and cons that affect its role in your fitness journey. As you weigh the decision to include creatine in your routine, understanding these pros and cons may help you make an informed choice.

    Final thoughts

    On the road to feeling your best, creatine is a big help, giving you a boost in both body and mind. The cool thing is, using creatine doesn't seem to be connected to getting acne, so you may enjoy its perks without worrying about your skin.



    Stephanie Wright avatar

    Stephanie brings over 13 years of diverse nursing experience to the table, having honed her expertise in critical care, mental health, and utilization management. Her journey as a registered nurse across these various healthcare sectors underscores her adaptability and deep commitment to patient care.

    Fact checker

     Dr. Jacquie Leone avatar

    Dr. Leone holds a BA in Psychology, a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and board certification in holistic nutrition. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Leone has developed and currently teaches science and nutrition courses for a nationally accredited institution. She specializes in chronic illness, gastrointestinal dysregulation, inflammatory conditions, and mental health. Her unique approach combines the wisdom of Eastern medicine with the technology and science of Western medicine, offering an integrative approach heavily focused on functional medicine.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.

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