5 Ways Working Out Affects Your Skin And What To Do About It

5 Ways Working Out Affects Your Skin And What To Do About It

A good work out must leave you looking and feeling better. But did you know sweat that sits on your skin post-workout can pose problems? Fortunately, there are five skincare rules you can follow pre and post-workout to ensure your skin doesn't suffer as a result of your fitness routine.

1. The Problem: Dirt And Pollution Clogging Your Pores

One of the downsides of sweating is it carries grime which has built up in your pores and – if your skin is not effectively cleansed – allows it to settle straight back into your skin. This transferred grime then increases your likelihood of developing free-radical damage, as well as irritating any underlying skin conditions. 

The Solution: Prevention Is Better Than Cure

So it’s advisable to pre-cleanse before you break a sweat. This ensures you’re amplifying results and that existing make-up doesn’t inhibit the removal of toxins.

Internationally renowned doctor and dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham explains: "Exercise has a number of health benefits however, workout can also cause havoc with our skin, particularly if you exercise with make-up on. Make-up forms a clogging film over the skin, which can cause inflammation and irritation in your pores. If you are choosing to tailor your workout to also benefit your skin, then it’s important to remember that caring for it topically is of paramount importance. However, as you exercise, sweating is inevitable, and while this is an important bodily function for removing toxins and impurities, leaving it on the skin can also result in clogged pores and dehydration. If you’re not removing the sweat from your skin, then all the hard work you've done in your complexion-boosting exercise regime becomes redundant."

Taking cues from here, firstly, always carry a topical salicylic acid treatment in your gym bag to help dissolve the peripheral clogged grime in your pores. But for a speedy, efficient and thorough cleanse we recommend investing in products which are easy to use and takes about a minute, making it an easy-to-follow routine in one’s daily schedule. Facial cleansing devices like LUNA Mini 2 Facial Cleansing Brush, from the house of Swedish beauty and wellness brand, FOREO, is one product we have been swearing by.

On just a couple of uses we could feel our skin becoming smooth and retaining its natural radiance. Removing up to an impressive 99.5% of surface grime, oil and make-up residue, this sonic cleansing gadget prevents bacterial build-up with silicone brush bristles which is 35 times more sterile than their nylon counterparts.

Being lightweight is a bonus and its 300 uses per single charge make it convenient too. Use this sonic facial brush on wet skin with your favourite facial cleanser, allowing it to pulse on the key areas of your face for 15 seconds.

2. The Problem: Post-Workout Sweat Can Aggravate Acne

A shocking 40% of us admit to not washing our faces post-workout. However, since this is when skin has expelled most of its bacteria and dirt beneath the surface, it’s crucial to get clean. While sweat itself won’t cause acne, the moist, warm environment it creates on the skin will. To stop spots in their tracks, cleanse as soon as you can after hitting up the gym.

“As you exercise, your body temperature increases, and your heart rate rises, causing your pores and sweat glands to open up," confirms Anita. They start releasing sweat, in an attempt to cool you down, by a process called thermoregulation. Make-up can prevent sweat from leaving the pores, and instead that sweat leaks into the surrounding skin, where its acidic nature can lead to redness and a heat rash. The build up of sweat and oil in the clogged pores acts as fuel for spots and pimples to appear."

The Solution: Give Yourself A Speedy Cleanse With
LUNA mini 2

Not only is the FOREO LUNA mini 2 gym-bag friendly, but also effectively cleanses in just a minute. So, bye bye ten minute skincare routines, for the busy bees, always on-the-go.

On regular usage - post workout, we figured out that no matter how much you scrub and clean, your hands alone cannot do the job of a thorough deep cleanse, which is needed to remove the stagnant, bacteria carrying sweat accumulated on the skin.

The gadget’s 8000 sonic pulsations per minute gives an effective cleanse that boosts circulation and detoxes the complexion, leaving skin clean and prepped for any post-workout products. Thanks to its waterproof design you can conveniently use it in the shower, with its charge reliably lasting up to 300 uses. Finally, finish with a refreshing spritz of rose water or an elixir spray.

3. The Problem: You'll Be More Susceptible To Sunburn

Without SPF coverage, sweat on your skin can open you up to UV exposure, leaving your complexion susceptible to sun damage. Even if you are covered with protection, sweat can cause high factor sun cream to slide, so check your formulas first and always wear a cap and sunglasses when exercising outdoors.

The Solution: Opt For A High Factor SPF 50

Always check it is water or sweat resistant - preferably both. These resistant formulas usually offer protection for up to 80 minutes – despite sweating – so they’re essential to wear when you work out in the sun.

4. The Problem: Exercise Can Lead To Sweat Rashes

Regular runners and fitness fanatics will be familiar with the rashes that can result from exercise. These are usually caused when limbs rub against gym wear. Combine this with excess sweat getting trapped and you have the ideal conditions for irritation. Luckily, solving the problem is straightforward.

The Solution: Invest In Workout Wear That Is Breathable

Try going up a size in your clothes to minimise friction – as this makes sweat rash much worse – and invest in an anti-chafing cream stick which moisturises the area at the same time. A cool shower post-workout takes the edge off any flare-ups too.

Working out is good for the body and skin, but so is investing in good skincare products and activewear.
Working out is good for the body and skin, but so is investing in good skincare products and activewear.

5. The Problem: Overheating Can Make Some Skin Conditions Worse

A key trigger for certain skin conditions like rosacea and eczema is the rise in body temperature. Sweat left on the skin for long periods causes dehydration, which in turn, promotes itchiness and dry patches. While you can’t stop yourself getting hot and sticky during your workout, there are some simple tweaks you can make to your routine to be kinder to your skin.

The Solution: Make Sure You Have a Skincare Routine Post Work-Out

Especially if you’re in a class. According to a research done by FOREO, around 63% of gym equipment harbours the common cold virus, so it makes sense to protect yourself from infection. Secondly, take breaks and split up your workouts. Stop and give your body a chance to cool down so you’re not overheating, then start again. Finally, keep a gentle face cleansing brush, in your gym bag for a sweat-busting, non-abrasive cleanse, leaving you less prone to irritation and infection. Expect fresher, softer, glowing skin as a result.


Available at Selfridges.com

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