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So you’ve gotten on a good workout routine, you’re feeling good about your accomplishments, and you’re - breaking out?
Not fair! Unfortunately, though, this is an all-too-common reality for people who are regularly hitting the gym and burning those calories - and it can really negatively impact that motivation and oxytocin boost.
Luckily, there are steps you can take before, during, and after your workouts to avoid these post-workout breakouts.
This one may seem obvious - but don’t wear makeup to workout if you can avoid it.
When you work out and start to sweat, your pores naturally open up. If you wear heavy or oil-based makeup, then, it can clog those open pores and mix with any sweat or dirt that’s already on your face. Ultimately, this can cause major congestion and a form of breakout called acne cosmetica, which usually looks like small red bumps all over the face.
In the same vein, you should cleanse your face and apply an anti-bacterial product pre-workout. That way, when your pores do open up, the antibacterial ingredients can get in there and prevent any bacterial build-up as you perspire.
Here, we recommend antibiotic ingredients like:
This one might also seem obvious - but it’s harder to stick to than you may even realize. The average person is said to touch their face around 23 times an hour- and 44% of those touches come in direct contact with a mucous membrane. Translation? You can be introducing a lot of microbes into your system during the average 45 minute workout.
What’s more, between dumbbells, sweat, lockers, and dirty mats, most workout environments are not exactly the most sanitary - even if you’re exercising in your own home.
So take some extra steps to avoid touching your face, and make sure that you thoroughly sanitize your surroundings before you start touching things.
If you’re going for a run, playing an outdoor sport, or even going for a hike, it’s crucial that you don’t skip the SPF - but you have to pay extra attention to the formulation that you’re using.
Of course, you should always use broad-spectrum sun protection with an SPF of at least 30, but your sweat session sunscreen should also be oil-freeso it doesn’t clog pores as you work up a sweat.
First thing’s first: you should always pull your hair back during a workout. This not only keeps you cool but also prevents the oil and hair product in your hair from making its way to your face.
To this end, be mindful of the hair products that you do apply pre-workout. Many conditioners, sprays, and leave-in hair serums are rich in oils and other chemicals that can clog your pores if you sweat and they come in contact with your skin. Try to skip these kinds of products on workout days, or consider a sweatband to help keep them away from your skin.
This one can’t be overstated: you have to shower and wash your face as soon as possible after your workout. There are a few things to consider here. First, your workout clothes themselves - which are usually made from tight, moisture-wicking material - can trap oil and dead skin right onto the surface of your skin, creating the ideal environment for a major body breakout.
Plus, these clothes don’t let your skin breathe properly, which can make these problems even worse.
If you don’t want any bacteria, sebum, or debris to settle into your pores, your best bet is to wash your face and your body right away.
Also, skip the physical exfoliation. This one might seem slightly counterintuitive, but keep in mind that post-workout skin is delicate and prone to micro-tears. With that in mind, using gentle products is usually a better bet.
Working out increases circulation which, in the big picture, can actually improve skin health, tone skin, deliver vital nutrients, and encourage collagen production.
In the short term, though, excessive sweating can actually exacerbate conditions like rosacea and dermatitis, and a buildup bacteria can increase inflammation
To calm any potential irritation or inflammation, apply gentle, nourishing serums that aim to calm redness and banish blemishes. Here, we recommend that you look for ingredients like:
Find everything you need for a complete pre and post-workout skincare routine here.