Is exercise good or bad for your skin? It’s complicated, say the experts. Apparently, sweating can be good for your skin because when we are active, we release toxins, which opens up and clears out our pores. But here comes the BIG BUT. If you miss one important step when it comes to exercising and skin, you’re in danger of starting to notice your skin going downhill—and you’ll need these skincare hacks especially for gym rats PRONTO.
Here are some pointers from a dermatologist to help your skin look its post-workout best.
14 Skincare Hacks for Gym Rats
1. WIPE IT CLEAN
Use disposable body wipes or medicated/herbal wet tissues right after a workout. Doing so will help in removing excess oil from your skin before you end up with a breakout.
2. KEEP A MINI TOWEL CLOSE
You don’t want the sweat and oils to stay there on the surface of your skin, or worse, do any damage. That’s why you should always carry a small towel in your bag to wipe the excess sweat.
3. DO. NOT. TOUCH.
4. CLEAN YO FEET
You should always use a foot deodorizer to clean your feet after a heavy workout.
5. SKIP THE TANNING BED
Tanning beds are harmful to your skin, we know. There’s also the range of cosmetic skin concerns, like wrinkles and sun spots. Instead, opt for a self-tanning lotion or simply working out outdoors with SPF will give you a natural glow.
6. BYOT (Bring Your Own Towel!)
If you take a shower at the gym, be careful of the towels and cleansing products you use. NEVER use towels already used by someone. The sweat of other people can cause acne on your skin. Cleaning your skin should be hygienic.
7. CHANGE RIGHT AWAY
Avoid wearing gym clothes after showering. Gym clothes will be sweaty and grimy; they may cause acne and other skin related problems.
8. STAY BACK
Avoid close contact. Other people’s sweat may also cause skin acne, pimples and other related problems. That hug to your trainer or gym buddy can end up triggering a breakout.
9. KEEP COOL
Skip the hot water. Sure, your muscles are sore, and you’re in the mood for a hot shower after a workout. Hot water strips skin of vital oils, leaving you with dry, itchy, dull skin.
10. REDUCE REDNESS
Calm down a flushed face with your own redness control remedy made up of a little bit of iced green tea and a spray bottle. You’ll cool down your skin and add in a few extra anti-oxidants in the process.
After your workout, it’s critical to re-establish the natural moisture and oils. Invest in a high quality, fast-absorbing, nutrient-rich product that includes vitamins A and E and the super-ingredient hyaluronic acid which restores moisture and stimulates collagen production. If you’ve been exercising outdoors, a moisturizer with anti-oxidant ingredients will help repair damage caused by UV exposure and other environmental factors.
12. GO BARE
Morning gym people don’t need makeup, and you should face-wipe to remove dirt and makeup if you’re working out later in the day. You want your skin to be able to breathe while you’re active.
13. WEAR A HAIRBAND
Hair should always be pulled back from your face, not only because of sweat, but because of your hair products, too. If you are seeing breakouts on your forehead or hairline, mousses, gels, or other hair products could be to blame. An elastic headband worn behind the ears about an inch from the hairline keeps stray hairs off the face.
14. PULL ON GLOVES
Gloves protect hands from rough calluses and prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses like warts and staphylococcus bacteria, which can cause impetigo, a common skin infection easily transmitted at the gym. If you choose not to wear gloves during a workout, disinfect your equipment with a wipe or spray.
Dr. Margarita Lolis is a board-certified cosmetic, medical dermatologist who addresses common skin concerns such as acne prevention and treatment, sun damage, skin discolouration, wrinkles, changes to skin texture and loss of volume.