Regular workouts are one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle, but what does it mean for your skin? Skip the breakouts and help your skin maintain a healthy glow with our best tips for incorporating good skin care habits before AND after you get your sweat on. Don’t let clogged pores and breakouts get in the way of a good sweat session; check out our best secrets to a clear complexion no matter how often you hit the gym!
Say goodbye to clogged pores and post-gym breakouts! Exercise should be good for every part of your body – including your skin. It’s easy to forget about the importance of incorporating a pre- and post-sweat skin care routine when you’re just trying to fit a workout into an already busy schedule. Fortunately, there are some easy things you can incorporate into your pre (and post!) workout routine that will do wonders for your skin’s complexion and overall health. Don’t believe us? Keep reading…
Before You Hit the Gym
It’s common knowledge to hydrate and stretch before you jump into a workout, but what skin care considerations should you keep in mind before your next sweat session?
- Keep it clear: Dermatologists around the world agree: wearing make-up – especially anything heavy like foundation – and perspiration do not go hand in hand.1 “Sweating with make-up on can clog your pores and lead to unnecessary breakouts,” says Dr. Rivers. “As part of your pre-workout routine, always remove the make-up from your face before hitting the gym. It takes minutes to do and will save your skin from a lot of stress and discomfort down the road.”
- Keep it light: It’s always good practice to keep hair products away from your face to prevent them from clogging up your pores, but this is especially important to keep in mind if you’ll be hitting the gym. Oily hair products travel down your face or back when you start to sweat, which is often a leading cause of acne on foreheads.2 If hair products are a “must-have” at all times – consider using a sweatband to keep as much product as possible from travelling down to your face.
- Keep it clean: Gym equipment is basically a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria – just think of all the sweaty hands that come and go before it’s your turn! If you touch your face during any part of your workout (hello, sweat dripping into your eyes!) you’re at risk for major contamination. Wipe down any and all exposed surfaces that you’ll touch before your workout with antibacterial wipes. It’ll be well worth the extra effort to keep your skin as bacteria free as possible!
During Your Sweat Session
Now that your skin is ready to go pre-workout, we’ve got a few more tips to keep in mind during your gym session to keep your skin looking and feeling its best even when you’re breaking a sweat:
- Protect Yourself: It’s always nice to switch up your workouts and take them outside in the summertime, but make sure you are protecting your skin if you decide to step outdoors. UV rays are the leading cause of skin-related problems due to sun exposure (aka. skin cancer!), so lather up with SPF if you’re taking your workout outside.3 Keep in mind that an oily formula mixed with sweat will end up clogging your pores, so stick to a lightweight formula like our SPF 30 broad spectrum facial sunscreen to stay protected even on the sunniest days. Look for a sweat and water-resistant sunscreen such as our SPF 40 body sunscreen to make sure you're fully protected throughout your workout.
- Pat it down: When you’re dripping in sweat halfway through your workout, you might be tempted to wipe the sweat off your face with your bare hands. Try to avoid mixing bacteria by using blotting paper or a clean towel to dry the sweat off in between sets instead of reaching for your face with your (equally sweaty) hands.
- Stay hydrated: Hydration needs during exercise vary from person to person, but it’s a given that replenishing lost fluids during a workout are critical for maintaining blood volume, regulating body temperature, and for muscle contraction.4 Consider your own needs, sweat rate, and the conditions in which you’re exercising in and alter your fluid intake according to those factors.5 More isn’t necessarily better, but you’ll want to drink enough water to prevent dehydration – especially in the summer months!
Your workout isn’t complete without some post-workout attention to your skin care routine. Finish off any sweat session with a few “must-do” things to keep your complexion spot on:
- Clean it up: Don’t skip the good gym etiquette at the end of a tiring workout. Do the next person a favour and wipe down the equipment you just used with some antibacterial wipes before you hit the showers. We all know that bacteria build up is what leads to skin impurities and inflammation, so help a girlfriend out and do a little bit of the dirty work for them. It’s good karma, after all!
- Wash it off: The leading cause of clogged pores and those dreaded breakouts? Letting sweat and bacteria build up on your skin! Shower off after any workout to give your skin a chance to breathe and recover. On top of that, make sure you cleanse with a gentle cleanser to help restore your skin’s mantle and pH levels6 and follow up with a moisturizer to rehydrate and return your skin to its optimal state. If a shower isn’t possible, make sure you at least wipe down the most acne prone areas of your body (think face, chest, back and stomach!) with a clean towel and some fresh water and change out of those sweaty gym clothes, too!
- Replenish your skin: Just as our body needs fluids after excersize, so does our skin. According to the journal of Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, hydrating the skin after a workout is important to maintaining the integrity of the skin’s natural barrier.7 Besides moisturizing with a hydrating cream post-workout, make sure your skin gets all the nutrients it needs to recover from some additional post-sweat fuel. Re-hydrate with lots of fluids, but also replenish your body – and by extension, your skin – with a healthy snack to help your body recover and to keep your energy levels up.8 Your snack of choice may depend on the workout you just completed, but as a general rule, good snacks include carbohydrates, a little protein and not too much fat.9
A regular exercise routine is good for your mind and your body, but if you don’t keep your skin care routine top of mind too, it can cause lasting damage. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up good skin for a good workout. We hope these easy-to-incorporate tips will find their way into your pre- and post-workout routines to help keep your skin complexion clear and glowing even on your hardest gym days!
- Chia, J. 9 April 2014. Is Working Out In Makeup Really That Bad For Your Skin? Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/a20455830/is-working-out-in-makeup-really-that-bad-for-your-skin/
- Rodriguez, D. 17 February 2010. 9 Bad Habits That Can Cause Pimples. Everyday Health. Retrieved from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/acne/bad-skin-habits.aspx
- Dummer, R. and Maier, T. 2002. UV Protection and Skin Cancer. Cancers of the Skin. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-59410-6_2
- Shirreffs, S.M. 01 June 2005. The importance of good hydration for work and exercise performance. Nutrition Reviews. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/63/suppl_1/S14/1927743
- Sports Dietitians Australia. 14 September 2016. Hydration: How Much Should You Drink During Exercise? SDA. Retrieved from: https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/sda-blog/hydration-during-exercise/
- Ali, S.M. and Yosipovitch, G. March 2013. SkinpH: From Basic Science to Skin Care. Ingenta Connect. Retrieved from: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mjl/adv/2013/00000093/00000003/art00002
- Boer M. et al February 2018 Structural and biophysical characteristics of human skin in maintaining proper epidermal barrier function. Journal of Advances in Dermatology and Allergology 33(1): 1-5 Retrieved form: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4793052/
- Wells, G.D. February 2009. The Post-Workout Protein Puzzle: Which Protein Packs the Most Punch? Strength and Conditioning Journal. Retrieved from: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fulltext/2009/02000/The_Post_Workout_Protein_Puzzle__Which_Protein.4.aspx
- Dietitians of Canada. 25 June 2015. 15 smart snacks for active lifestyles. Unlock Food. Retrieved from: http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Physical-Activity/15-smart-snacks-for-active-lifestyles.aspx