A Dermatologist’s Guide to Pre- and Post-Workout Skincare
It’s no secret that the benefits of regular exercise are plenty. Great for the body and mind, a good workout will also help boost collagen production to keep your skin firm, supple, as well as improving blood circulation to give you a healthy glow.
Yet, people tend to neglect the aftereffects of sweating during an intense workout. If you don’t take good care of your skin after exercising, the sweat can cause bacteria buildup and even irritation—especially if you are training outdoors when the skin is exposed to environmental pollutants.
But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your skin for a good workout. We asked Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a top New York-based dermatologist of Schweiger Dermatology Group to share her tips for creating effective an pre- and post-workout skincare routine that will do wonders for your skin and overall health.
Keep reading for expert advice on what you should do before and after hitting the gym to keep breakouts and clogged pores at bay. It’s time to update your gym bag beauty checklist.
Before working out, give your face a deep cleanse. It’s important to make sure your skin is clean and fresh before jumping into a workout, as wearing make-up and rich skincare products would make it difficult to breathe, thus leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts.
“Exercising would cause the blood vessels to dilate and an increase in body temperature and sweat volume to the skin,” said Rachel. “Sweating with make-up or heavy skincare on can result in dysregulation of skin temperature and a buildup of bacteria in the pores, creating the perfect environment for inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea and acne.”
A gentle cleanser is highly recommended, as it can keep your skin barrier healthy and give your skin the right levels of hydration.
Just like how you clean your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser before exercising, do the same immediately after your sweat session. This is a very important part of your post-workout routine, because the longer the sweat is on your face, the higher chances of it trapped in the skin, attracting bacteria which further leads to irritations.
“Even if you don’t have time for a shower post-workout, face cleansing is vital,” said Rachel. “I recommend using a non-foaming face wash and rinse off with lukewarm water. After cleansing, you should also avoid applying heavy skincare products that contain occlusive ingredients. This is because your skin will continue to emit heat even after exercising, and you should let your skin breathe and return to its normal temperature quicker.”
Instead, you should apply a nourishing serum for relief from redness or dehydration due to sweating. For an extra dose of hydration and to make sure the skin gets all the nutrients it needs to recover from sweating, opt for lightweight products that contain vitamin C or hyaluronic acid.
Body skincare tips after workout
Post-workout body skincare is just as important as taking care of the face to avoid breakouts. “Many people experience body acne due to sweating in tight clothes, while those with sensitive skin would suffer from irritation more than often after exercising,” said Rachel. Always remember to take a shower and change into clean clothes after your workout.
In terms of the skincare ingredients that you should look for in your facial and body skincare solutions, Rachel suggests opting for something that can complement your fitness routine and cater to your specific skin needs. Those with dry skin should always stick with a gentle cleanser and apply a small amount of Vaseline to your arms and legs to keep the skin hydrated. Cleansers that contain glycolic acid would be great for those with oily skin who want to get rid of chest and back acne.
Lastly, those with sensitive or irritated skin can choose a mild cleanser and a fragrance-free moisturiser with calming anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe or glycerin, to keep their skin clean and hydrated without stripping away its natural oils.
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