Sweat and skincare
Updated: Mar 2
We have all been there, you leave the gym all sweaty, get home and quickly prep a smoothie, maybe pack tomorrow's lunch box, have a quick chat, watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy maybe - and boom, breakout galore because now your pores are clogged. Let's talk skincare routines post-workout as well as pre-workout preventions...
1. Before you hit the gym
Firstly, before you even slip into your gym attire - WASH YOUR FACE. One of the worst things you can do to your skin is going to the gym with a face full of makeup and oiliness. This will prevent clogging of pores even before you start sweating!
2. While working out
DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE. This is a tip that you will read everywhere, because it is so crucial. The gym is a breeding ground for all kinds of gross germs (I hope this doesn't put you off from going to the gym completely). Luckily, our bodies are quite resilient against most germs - except for the Coronavirus, apparently. Our skin, however, can quickly pick up on unwanted yucky things. Avoid touching gym equipment such as machines, weights, gym mats etc. and then touching your face.
USE A CLEAN GYM TOWEL. This is a bit obvious, I'd say, but be sure to swop your gym towel daily. Old sweat is definitely not the best thing you can do for your skin, especially when working out. Pat your face dry while workout out (don't go for a vigorous rub) and just give your face a quick rinse when leaving the gym, so all your sweat won't dry on your face while driving home. Also, we've seen those signs 'be a pal, use a sweat towel', and yes, be a pal, BUT don't use your towel for wiping equipment. There is usually some paper towel rolls in the gym, grab some of those!
KEEP YOUR HAIR BACK. Hold it down, girl. With your hair being all over the show you'll be touching your face more and that's a big no-no, remember. Also, some hair products might end up on your face and can cause a whole other level of breakouts.
Refer back to step 1, WASH YOUR FACE as soon as you get home. Luke-warm water will do the trick to cool your face down, calm the redness and keep pores from clogging (see below for water-debate). Also, don't wait too long after your workout to take a shower. Focus on your entire body (it's not just your face that's sweaty). Remember that sweat might get trapped in your hairline and on your back - reaching those tough spots is crucial, no one wants acne on your back, or bacne (get it).
On a point of order, don't overwash your face. There is no way that you will be able to flush out a breakout in a single wash - soap cannot possibly clean your next 15 layers of skin. Stick to your normal routine, avoid over-exfoliating, use a toner with a cotton pad to wipe off any left-over dirt and MOISTURISE before going to bed. Working out means sweating and sweating means dehydration.
In conclusion, there is very often a water temperature debate when it gets to skincare. The researcher in me has read many articles about it and here is my conclusion: LUKE-WARM WATER WINS. If you have dry skin, hot water can worsen this condition, and the same goes for oily skin. Piping hot water can leave your skin over-producing oily skin cells because it disturbs your skin's natural oil balance. Cold water, although occasionally recommended, is not necessarily the best water temperature for your skin. It is also said to be a myth that ice cold water can tighten your pores. Luke-warm water is highly recommended because it can cool down your skin without being too cold, and it will not disturb your natural oil or hydration levels.
The overall point I am trying to make is this - your skin will reward you for good skincare habits. Try and keep your skin in its most natural state at all times - not overwashed, not too dry, not too oily, not covered in sweat - clean and moisturised!