It’s no secret that exercise is amazing for your body – and it happens to be great for your skin, too! For one, exercising causes your blood vessels to expand, allowing more blood and oxygen to reach the skin’s surface. The result is a bright, glowy complexion that is almost always worth the workout. (It’s sort of like those post-workout endorphins, but for your skin.) Speaking of endorphins, exercise also has stress-lowering benefits that ultimately reduce cortisol hormone levels, which can benefit the skin. Exercise also increases lymphatic flow, so your skin is less puffy.
But exercise and skin aren’t always good. Chafing, breakouts, clogged pores, fungal acne, and irritation can result from poor pre- and post-workout skincare habits. To learn how to care for your skin before and after exercise, keep on reading.
How to Take Care of Your Skin Before and After a Workout
Do: Cleanse Your Skin Right After Exercise
Wash your face right after you’re done working out to cleanse away the dirt, oil, and sweat that lead to breakouts and clogged pores.
Don’t: Wash your face before your morning workout
If you work out first thing in the morning, you don’t need to wash your face beforehand. Your skin should still be clean from your evening skincare regime – unless it feels oily and dirty, skip the wash and splash your face with lukewarm water instead. Washing your skin too often, especially when it doesn’t need it, can cause irritation and exacerbate skin conditions like rosacea and acne.
Do: Moisturize after a workout
Post-workout, splash cool water on your skin, use a rose toner or a pH balanced mist and then add nourishment to your skin with a moisturizer or facial oil – like our Superfood Beauty Oil – suited for your skin type. Ideally, you want a lightweight formula with anti-inflammatory properties that will keep redness at bay.
Don’t: Use harsh exfoliants after exercising
Our skin tends to be ultra-sensitive after exercising, so skip using an abrasive face scrub or strong chemical exfoliant on post-workout skin as it can cause irritation and upset the delicate skin barrier. If you need to refresh or brighten, opt for something with a low percentage of exfoliants (such as in a face wash) to gently renew skin.
Do: Have a post-workout skincare routine
You don’t need to have much of a skincare routine pre-workout but applying skincare after your workout is key. The increased supply of blood and oxygen to your skin from your workout, which results in that post-gym glow, can help aid ingredient absorption so you see better, faster results from your products. If possible, do your skincare routine right after exercise to maximize the results.
Don’t: Forget about your body
Post-exercise skincare isn’t all about the face. Just like you want to immediately cleanse your face following a workout, you also want to cleanse your body right after (especially if it was an intense workout) to remove the sweat, oil, dirt, and bacteria that accumulate on your skin while exercising.
Do: Exercise makeup free
It’s always best to remove your makeup before a workout. Not only will removing the makeup allow your skin to breathe, but it also helps prevent breakouts. Makeup combined with sweat, dirt, and oils is a pore-clogging recipe that can lead to acne.
Don’t: Use makeup wipes to cleanser
While some recommend keeping makeup wipes in your gym bag to cleanse skin before and after a workout, it’s better to stay away from them altogether. Makeup wipes are packed with preservatives that can irritate your skin, require harsh wiping motions that cause further irritation and wrinkles, and don’t effectively cleanse.
Micellar water is a good, gentle alternative to remove any makeup before a workout.