Your Ultimate Gym Skincare Routine
Should I wash my face before, or after I workout? Or both? Can I wipe my sweat while I’m running on the treadmill? Or, will that damn my pores with bacteria? The list of questions goes on and on. We’ve been there one too many times where we’ve been frustrated with our skin for acting out after giving ourselves a good hard workout. So, what’s the best skincare regimen to pair along with our next hot yoga or cycling sesh? Let’s find out!
Wipe it down
Let’s start with the basics. Thousands of people go in and out of big gym’s every day, sweating, crying (us LOL), & spitting on the equipment. So wiping down your equipment before (and after) your workout can help minimize the germs you expose yourself to while working out.
Tie it up
Also, if you know you have super long hair (or short hair/bangs) and it often gets in your way when lifting or running, always bring a hair tie to pull those babies back. Hair contact is one of the leading causes reasons for workout related breakouts! Think about it, even with the cleanest hair, if you are sweating and it's all up in your grill while you're on the treadmill, all the hair products you’ve used or even the bacteria from the day is now in direct contact with your open pores. The mixture of sweat and germs may cause a pimple to form. So, grab a hair tie or a headband to hold those hairs back, short hair included.
Leave on do not disturb
Our bodies are incredible machines that sweat to regulate our body temperature, neutralizing our temperature while working like a badass to maintain homeostasis (shout out to middle school… anyone ;) ?). So if you can help it, leave your skin on do not disturb mode as much as possible during your workout. If you feel like the sweat is getting in the way of your workout, use a clean towel to wipe (or preferably, dab) away the sweat.
OKAY Sooo… should I wash my face before, or after my workout?
Even though it’s often a drag, removing all face makeup before a workout is a must. "The combination of sweat and wearing makeup can cause a buildup of excess oil," says David E. Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. "Since pores open up while sweating, we don't want to block the skin's natural ability to breathe by clogging it up with makeup." Leaving your makeup on while sweating can actually lead to acne cosmetica—a form of acne that looks like little red bumps with no inflammation (2). Even if you’re a no makeup type o’ gal, washing your face pre-workout is still a good habit to get into, because we’re all (ahem) wearing sunscreen everyday in addition to exposing ourselves to pollution.
Don’t be an agro scrubber!
So when you’re workout is done, you may think running to the bathroom and scrubbing the sweat away will save your skin from the dreaded flare up. While a wash is needed, being gentle is key. Being too aggressive to the skin can disrupt the skin barrier, and lead to excessively dry skin, eczema, and yes… even acne! (1) So moral of the sorry, treat your skin like the princess she is. So grab a more neutral, gentle & pH balanced cleanser and leave it in your gym bag as a reminder to cleanse each time you hit the gym.
And Don’t forget your hot bod
While it may seem obvious, our body (the working machine that just powered us through all of our deadlifts and squats), gets neglected after our face is washed and we walk out the gym doors. Our whole body is sweating guys, not just our faces! Even if you don’t have time for a long routine shower at the gym (or your gym doesn’t have a shower), try to hop into one as soon after your workout as possible. The longer you wait, the longer your pores have time to clog up. Buttne is all too real a thing, people.
So, add a nice clearing body wash to your gym bag of goodies to remind yourself to wash that bod down. Ingredients like glycolic and lactic acid are also great for clearing out your pores, and preventing pimples on your back and booty. In addition, it can also help the “chicken skin” on the back of your arms (if you them have) even out in texture.
Let’s Talk Flushing!
When your workin’ your little booty off and your body is sweating like crazy, capillaries in your face and throughout your body dilate to encourage blood flow. This helps move the heat your body is generating to the skin's surface, where it can be radiated off. While this process helps to keep you cool while you work out, it can also make your skin look flushed (red, maybe even hot pink!) — especially in the face (3). Usually, people who get more red in the face during or following exercise have more blood vessels in the skin of their cheeks than others. This is the result of your blood working super hard to pump all around your body to maintain a healthy state of being as you workout.
How to calm it: de-toastify yourself stat. As your body temp drops, so does the flushing. Try sucking on ice chips or splash cold water on your face. And consider following up with an anti-redness product that contains licorice, green tea, oats, or feverfew. And keep in mind, while flushing is totally normal, always check in with your body to make sure it is not dehydration or heat stroke.
TL;DR: Clean, Sweat, Repeat
So, all in all, just like we need to breathe and catch our breath after a hard workout, so does our skin. Wash your your face, your bod, and….. It's gettin' hot in here, so take off all your (sweaty) clothes!
And obvi, the more you sweat, the more water you lose, and the more water we lose, the less dewy our complexion. Sooooo hydrate!! Sweat is basically just glitter so let that ish SHINE (but then wash it off lol).