Ladies, Here’s What Exercising in Makeup Can Do to Your Skin


Working out in makeup seems to be the new trend in the fitness industry. Just scroll through your Instagram feed and you’ll come across a number of female fitness influencers (or fitspos) jumping around in their Lululemons with a full face of makeup.

Instagram is not the place to be flaunting your imperfections – we get it. But sweating buckets with a thick layer of makeup products on your face doesn’t sound like the best idea, does it? Hello, this is your skin calling, and it wants its health back.

Problem with Wearing Makeup

Okay, maybe you need a little bit of concealer to hide that embarrassing pimple before hitting the spinning class, but if you have a layer of foundation on your face, along with other cosmetic products, your skin won’t be able to breathe while you’re sweating.

Even if you have a genuine excuse for wearing makeup in the gym – for example, if your work out during your lunch break but don’t want to redo your face before heading back to the office – experts still want you to think twice, and even thrice, before putting your skin though the ordeal. Here’s why exercising in make-up can be a big mistake.

When you work out, your blood vessels expand to increase blood flow to your skin. Your pores expand to release toxins and bacteria through sweat but if you’re wearing makeup in the gym, the bacteria could get trapped underneath, causing the pores to become majorly clogged.

Pore-occlusion – which is basically sweat and bacteria being trapped inside the pores – can cause your pores to enlarge over time and lead to the formation of black and white heads

Rachel Nazarian, MD from New York, says that the constant pore-occlusion – which is basically sweat and bacteria being trapped inside the pores – can cause your pores to enlarge over time and lead to the formation of black and white heads.

A layer of makeup also prevents effective dissipation of heat, which can lead to flare-ups, especially if you’re working out in a temperature sensitive environment. If you already have a sensitive skin which is prone to conditions like rosacea, wearing makeup to the gym can make things worse and cause itchiness and redness. The bottom line is that makeup might make you look pretty temporarily but it is never the long-term solution for good skin health.

Not wearing makeup to the gym should be your number one goal, but if you’re unable to follow this golden skin care rule for a legitimate reason – whether it’s because you forget to take the makeup off before heading to Pilates class or simply didn’t have the time for a quick clean-up – you need to understand that not all cosmetics are created equal.

Which Products to Use

If you really can’t remove your makeup before heading to the gym, you may want to invest in cosmetic products that are labeled as “non-comedogenic” which are designed to keep your pores unclogged. Instead of using heavy oil-based foundations, use light-coverage powers which will have minimal impact on your skin health.

Whether you’re wearing makeup or not, it’s important to wash your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser after you finish your workout. If you’re pressed on time, simply keep a pack of Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Clothes stashed in your gym bag for a quick clean up in the car on your way to or back from the gym.

Invest in cosmetic products that are labeled as non-comedogenic which are designed to keep your pores unclogged even when you sweat in the gym

And maybe stay away from high-intensity, sweaty workouts on days you’re wearing makeup to the gym. If you suffer from breakouts or acne and need to wear makeup every day to hide imperfections, opt for a lighter BB or CC cream, which won’t do a lot of damage to your pores. If you suffer from just a little bit of acne, experts suggest putting on a little bit of concealer on affected areas only instead of covering the entire face with makeup.

But at the end of the day, the best gift you can give to your skin is the gift of no makeup – especially when you’re getting sweaty in the gym. Even something as minor as lipstick, mascara or eyeliner need to be taken off before you get into your workout. Your makeup is likely to get smudged anyway if you’re doing a really intense exercise routine.