Love to exercise, but worried about the effects it could be having on your skin? From facial redness to teenage-worthy breakouts, working up a sweat can take its toll on your complexion. Luckily, we’ve got it covered to keep your body beautiful before, during and after your gym visit.
There are plenty of ways to look after your skin pre-workout. “Before any gym session, the most important thing is to ensure that you have removed your make-up.” Seena Seka, skincare expert advises. “If you start exercising with make-up on, your pores will clog up due to the sweat and oil on your face.” Pores open up naturally when you sweat, so make-up can block your skin’s ability to breathe. “This can lead to acne cosmetica, a form of acne that looks like little red bumps with no inflammation.” Skin expert and owner of Renew Medical Aesthetics, Kelly Saynor, explains. “Mascara is fine, but everything else needs to be removed.”
Kelly advises cleansing your face before you begin your workout. To remove every last bit of dirt, give the FOREO LUNA mini 2 a go. It’s the first ever 100 percent silicone facial cleansing brush with T-Sonic pulsations. It provides ultra-gentle and effective cleansing that leaves your skin feeling softer and smoother even after the first use.
“I would be cautious of putting products in your hair before exercise,” Kelly advises. “As you become sweaty, your hair can get wet, meaning that these products run down onto your face and ultimately block your pores.” Seena recommends tying your hair back, as it may be oily or have gathered pollution throughout the day, meaning that if it makes continuous contact with your face during a workout it could transfer oils, causing spots. However, avoid wearing a headband: “Headbands across the forehead are not recommended as they can cause a backup of oil and perspiration in the pores,” advises dermatologist Dr Salinda Johnson of the London Cosmetic Clinic. “This results in pesky bumps or breakouts. If you find yourself with clogged pores and can’t live without a headband, push it further back in your hairline.”
Hydration from within
Don’t forget that when exercising outdoors, it’s important to wear a sunscreen that it has a high enough SPF, says Seena. Leading dermatologist Dr Simon Zokaie and founder of the Linia Skin Clinic advises ensuring that your skin is well hydrated. “If you are prone to flushing, I would apply an antioxidant serum to help combat the inflammation.” Celebrity facialist Debbie Thomas, says. “The serum should soak into the skin so it won’t sweat off when you’re training.”
Dr Simon advises drinking plenty of water, as the skin is the largest organ, it will be affected first. Dr Simon also suggests steering clear of warm clothing. Choose breathable, wickable wear which allows your skin to perspire.
Total wipe off
“You should also take care to wipe down any equipment you intend to use with antibacterial wipes.” Adds Seena, as bacteria breeds easily on kit and you can’t trust others to clean it for you. Avoid touching your face or body and use a towel to dry your skin instead. However, Dr Salinda advises taking your own towel. “The towels at the gym have been washed with industrial detergents and bleaches,” she explains. “If they don’t wash them thoroughly, there could be residue of detergent that you don’t want on your skin.” However, make sure yours is clean as using the same towel for a few gym sessions is a big no-no. “A used towel will be full of old sweat teeming with bacteria.” Into boxing? Those gloves can harbour a lot of germs, so carry a bottle of hand sanitiser with you.
Be sure to continue taking care of your skin and hair even after your session is over. “Ccleanse your skin well to remove the toxins, sweat and oil and moisturise well to hydrate.” Says Dr Simon. “If you do have a lot of redness, look for moisturisers which will help to calm the skin.” This is especially important if you suffer from skin conditions such as keratosis pilaris. A harmless condition that leaves the skin feeling rough and bumpy.
Allow your pores to breathe
Another great tip is to change out of your fitness gear immediately. Melissa Power, personal trainer at Centric:3Tribes (3tribes.co.uk) recommends showering straight after your workout. “Don’t forget to pay extra attention to acne-prone areas where sweat accumulates most when washing.” Kelly advises. Melissa suggests letting your skin breathe for a while after your workout, so you’ll end up using more than necessary.
Banish aches and pains
Dr Preema Vig of the Dr Preema London Clinic (drpreema.com) recommends applying magnesium oil topically. “It alleviates aches, pains, inflammation and muscle soreness,” she explains. One final tip – “Carry on drinking lots of water after your workout in order to keep your skin hydrated and wash out any toxins,” advises Kelly.