Our Top 6 Tips to Work Out without Breakouts

Exercise and Skincare

To help us all make the most out of our new year's resolutions, we've compiled a few tips to ensure our fitness goals aren't getting in the way of our skin care goals. As always if you have any questions about anything in this article please don't hesitate to reach out to us at

  1. It may go without saying, but makeup and exercise don’t mix! Sweat and bacteria get trapped under layers of makeup and hinder your skin’s ability to breath – leading to breakouts. Make-up can also trap heat under the skin and can flare heat-sensitive skin conditions such as rosacea. If you must, use a mineral-based makeup as it won’t clog your pores.

  2. As far as apparel is concerned, that expensive moisture-wicking activewear may be worth the price.  If your workout gear is breathable and doesn’t chafe, it will be less likely to trap bacteria and sweat which can lead to breakouts. Cotton shirts are especially problematic because when wet, they stick to the skin and trap sweat, dirt, and oil. Instead, choose fabrics that wick away moisture such as Luon, DriRelease, or Coolmax.

    If your workout routine or daily activities require you to wear a helmet, backpack, or non-breathable clothing, these materials can rub against acne-prone areas of the body. This can cause a phenomenon called acne mechanica where friction stimulates the sebaceous gland to produce excess oil that mixes with dead skin cells and clogs pores.

    Getting your gym kit, and especially your sports bra fitted properly is a great way to avoid acne mechanica. Nike and SweatyBetty both offer helpful bra fitting services.

  3. Wash your workout accessories frequently. Wearing dirty workout headbands or hats can transport bacteria easily to your face – resulting in clogged pores and bumps.

  4. If you can, avoid hair styling products post-gym. As we rush from one activity to another in our busy lives, it can be tempting to use hair styling products like heavy conditioners or hairsprays right after exercising. but as your body is still warm, these products will become less viscous and travel downward to your face where they can clog pores. Your skin will thank you for putting as much time as possible between working on your body and working on your hair.

  5. Some research has linked whey protein and acne. Now, due to the small sample size in this research from the journal, Dermatology, we caution to take this with a grain of salt.  However, the researchers found that in some subjects, using whey protein caused an increase in IGF growth factor which can lead to insulin resistance and acne. If you enjoy a post-workout protein shake and suffer from acne or breakouts, cutting the whey may be a worthwhile experiment.

  6. Our last point: Keep at it, working out is good for your skin! Although there is some evidence showing that extreme exercise (like, 90 minutes of running at 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, extreme) can cause signs of cell damage that show on the face, moderate exercise and even intense interval training has been shown to have a rejuvenating effect on skin. Keep your workouts frequent and sweaty and you'll reap all the fat-burning and anti-aging benefits!