If you’ve been going to the gym or exercising outdoors regularly then you’ve probably come to terms with the fact that sweat will be part of your daily routine.
Even though working out is great to keep your skin healthy and give it a natural glow, if you’re not following a good pre and post-gym skincare regimen, your face could become prone to breakouts, clogged pores, and dryness. So, how exactly do you look after your skin before and after the daily sweat session?
Before Gym: Pack Your Own Towel
If you have sensitive skin, and don’t want to risk an allergic reaction to the harsh commercial chemicals in cheap detergents, you’re better off packing your own towel instead of borrowing one from the gym, because let’s face it, they probably don’t handle their towels with the same hygiene that you do.
Board-certified dermatologist, Lisa Airan, says that the chemicals in commercial, low-cost detergents used by gyms and hotels to wash their towels can cause reactions like contact dermatitis.
Before Gym: Throw Your Hair Up
You probably look better with your hair down but when it comes to a heart-pumping sweat session in the gym, you’re better off putting your hair in a ponytail so it doesn’t stick to your sweaty face, a situation that could lead to breakouts. This is especially important if you’re a hair styling junky and loves to use a lot of hair products which could get mixed with sweat and seep into your pores.
Before Gym: Take Off the Makeup
Most women make an excuse that they don’t really have time to remove their makeup before heading to the gym but dermatologists insist that no matter how busy you are, it’s important to strip away your skin of any chemicals that could clog your pores as you sweat. If your makeup is going to wash away with sweat anyway, what’s the point of keeping it on in the first place?
Ask any dermatologist and they will tell you how harmful it is to workout with makeup on, even if it is just a light-coverage concealer. The best way to look after your skin is to go to the gym barefaced. Who cares if you don’t look as glamorous as the rest of the girls around you, at least you won’t be the one suffering from breakouts and clogged pores later.
After Gym: Don’t Touch Your Face
The gym is a filthy place where a lot of sweaty people share the same equipment, therefore increasing the risk of germ transfer and contagion. Whether you’re using the elliptical or other equipment in the gym, touching your face while working out is a big no-no if you want to avoid the grime from getting into your pores and triggering breakouts.
A study from the Clinical Journal and Sports Medicine showed that over 60 per cent of the gym equipment has traces of viruses – especially rhinovirus – on it, which may not necessarily cause problems to your skin but could definitely make you sick. If you need to touch your face, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly first to remove all the dirt and bacteria.
After Gym: Don’t Leave the Sweaty Clothes On
Keeping your sweat-drenched clothes on even after your workout is finished can increase your risk of getting acne or folliculitis. Lisa Airan says that most of the patients who come to her with the complaint of folliculitis on their legs and chest, the most common underlying cause is not changing out of sweaty gym clothes after leaving the gym.
After Gym: Clean Your Face Again
Just like you did with your makeup before heading to the gym, use a soft cotton wipe to wipe away all the dried sweat, oil and dirt that can get inside your pores and clog them. Don’t forget to hydrate your skin after your post-workout shower with an anti-inflammatory moisturizer to bring your skin back to baseline.