Your guide to workout skincare

Its January and not only is it a new year, it’s a new decade. That means one thing: we’re hitting the gym hard and it’s likely that you are too. But have you wondered how your workouts are impacting your skin? We have the breakdown here.

The skincare benefits of exercise

Working out is not just great for your body and mind, it’s also beneficial for your skin! Glowing skin is a given when you’ve been doing cardio, but there’s more. Regular workouts are also linked to a reduction in inflammation by keeping your cortisol – your body’s main stress hormone – levels regulated. High cortisol levels are associated with acne and accelerated signs of ageing, which is why you’re more likely to breakout when you’ve been anxious or stressed.  So that’s the good news. Is there bad news? Only if you’re not sticking to the following guidelines.

1. Hit the gym with clean skin

Exercising with clean skin is a must. While there are some who do exercise with a full face of makeup, this is highly discouraged if you want to keep your skin smooth and clear. Just imagine all that sweat, bacteria and dead skin working their way into your pores while you warm up. Unappealing, right?

If you’re working out first thing in the morning, there is no need to cleanse beforehand as excessive washing is likely to irritate your skin (unless you slept in your make-up, in which case we forgive you but, please stop). If you’re exercising later in the day, it’s really important to remove your makeup before sweaty workouts to prevent clogged pores and breakouts. Stepping out barefaced can be intimidating if you’re not used to it however it’s important to remember that it’s likely to be dark and everyone else will be focused on their own workout. If you’re short on time, cleansing just your complexion will do.

2. Apply sunscreen if you’re working out outdoors

If you’re going for a run along the beach or taking part in any outdoor class or activity, applying SPF is necessary to keep your skin protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

3. Avoid touching your face during your workout

We prefer not to really think about it but the gym is not a clean place, so it’s best to avoid touching your face at all once you’ve stepped into the zone. Keep your hair tied up and avoid wiping your face with the same towel you use on your body or equipment.

4. Cleanse again afterwards

A quick and simple cleanse with a gentle cleanser will go a long way to remove excess sweat and bacteria. There’s no need to repeat your entire skincare routine unless you’re working out at night: hydrating and applying SPF is enough. This post-workout cleanse is especially important if you skipped it beforehand and if you’re wearing makeup, in which case a double cleanse is better to really get the oils out of your pores. Time is also of the essence so don’t let yourself get distracted – the longer that sweat stays on your skin, the higher the chances of it attracting bacteria.

5. Save your actives for later

Not only is it unnecessary to apply your full routine after every cleanse, you’re more likely to experience irritation when using products with active ingredients such as vitamin C, acids and retinoids after exercise. Your skin is likely to be flushed and more sensitive so save the serums for your evening routine. If you feel the need to exfoliate, tread lightly to avoid dehydration and opt for an enzyme scrub as opposed to a physical one.

6. Drink a ton of water before and after

Don’t put the bottle down as soon as you leave the room! Your body needs to stay hydrated to reap the benefits of your workout so make sure you continue to hydrate throughout the day after your workout.

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