26 Apr Treating the Skin Before, During and After a Workout
Vancouver is an active city. Staying fit is good for the body, mind and soul. And when your body is healthy, your skin also benefits. But on the other hand, an intense and sweaty workout can wreak havoc if your skin is not cared for properly before and after your workout.
So lets start with the “before”. If you workout first thing in the morning, things are easy. You can get up and go. But do not leave the house without SPF. If the sun is up, or coming up, you need protection from UV rays. Yes, even if your workout is inside. Many and elliptical and treadmill is placed right in front of a bright window. And remember not all SPFs are the same. Choose and SPF that is water and sweat resistant. If your workout is outside, like a run or hike, amp up your sun protection. Wear a hat and clothing that covers the chest and shoulders. When it comes to the body, the chest in particular is an area that can accumulate considerably sun damage over time.
Now if your working out after work or in the evening, I highly suggest taking the time to remove any foundation or face makeup. Most over the counter foundations contain oils, fillers, and fragrance that can cause irritation and breakouts at the best of times, never mind when they are worn while sweating. The best option is to use a gentle cleanser to remove any makeup before your workout. If makeup is a must, wear a more breathable makeup designed around skin health such as Colorescience or Oxygenetix. And gather that hair up into a cute gym bun Hair products can drip down your hairline and face when sweating, causing new breakouts to form. Especially if loose hair is laying against your cheek, forehead or back.
During your workout try not to touch your face. A lot of germ ridded hands have touched that equipment before you, and you to not want that to result in a new acne outbreak. Use a clean towel to wick away sweat instead of your hand or forearm. If a few laps in the pool is your thing, try using a balm or protective cream before entering the water to act as a protective coat against the drying effects of chlorinated water.
If you have ongoing skin conditions, you may want to take into account the type of exercise you are doing, or how you are doing it. Melasma and Rosacea are exhascerbated by heat, so these skin disorders will likely flare up when subjected to any exercise that causes extreme heat and flushing in the skin, such as spin and hot yoga. And if you are prone to Acne, you may want to consider a workout routine where sweat and oil do not get a chance to dry or sit on the skin for too long. Personally I lift weights before my sweat inducing HIIT session, as this prevents small breakouts for me.
How you care for your skin after a workout can be the most important part in maintaining healthy skin. Do not let that sweat sit on your skin! The longer sweat stays on your face and body, the more you are at risk of breakouts. I know fitness can be a social experience, you want to catch up with friends, grab a coffee after, or even run some errands. But trust me, if you are break out prone, you will pay for it with some new little blackheads and/or breakouts. I always encourage my clients for follow my fifteen minute rule. Wash your face fifteen minutes or sooner after any sweaty workout to avoid sweat and oil sitting on the skin and causing new clogged pores or acne. That means a quick trip home to jump in the shower, or wash your face at the gym or after a class as soon as possible. At least pack some gentle facial wipes or a micellar water to do a quick wipe down. This goes for the body too. Tight gym clothing can trap oil and sweat next to the skin. Change quickly to avoid irritation and breakouts on the body.
When treating the skin after a workout, choose products that are antibacterial and gently exfoliating. This will again prevent new breakouts from forming. Ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs are fantastic. I love the ZO exfoliating cleanser(for both the face and body) the Complexion Renewal or Acne Treatment Pads and the ZO Sulphur Mask. Rehydration is key. Drink lots of water of course, and try products with hyaluronic acid such as the Skinmedica Ha5 or Teoxane RHA Serum to give the skin a drink of water from the outside.
Facials, Microdermabrasion, Laser, and other facial treatments are great for improving and maintaining the skin’s overall health. Try to work a treatment into you schedule every 4-6 weeks. If your keeping your body healthy and happy, give your largest organ the same love.