Exercise is my go-to stress reliever, at least when I don't have a spa appointment on the schedule. I can always count on feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after a hard run or heart-pumping interval training class. The many other health benefits are just icing on the cake. A sweat session isn't always good for the skin, though. A build-up of sweat can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Not to mention, touching your face transfers oil and bacteria (which thrive in moist, humid environments like the gym) to the skin, leading to possible acne flare-ups. Don't pack away the sneakers just yet though. New York dermatologist, Jeremy Fenton, M.D., FAAD, at Schweiger Dermatology Group, shared his tips for avoiding dreaded exercise acne:
- Don’t Postpone Showering—Showering soon after a workout will prevent sweat from sticking around and mixing with dead skin cells to clog pores. If you don’t have time or access to a shower right after your workout, you can use a medicated pad with salicylic or glycolic acid (such as Clear Clinic ClearMe Pads) for a quick wipe-down.
- Use the Right Body Wash—Trading out your regular soap for an antibacterial or anti-acne wash containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can also be helpful. One tip for using a benzoyl peroxide wash is to leave it on for a few minutes after you lather (shave or brush your teeth in the shower) before rinsing it off. This can help the medication sink in. There are also micronized forms of benzoyl peroxide on the market now that have smaller sized particles of the medication, allowing for deeper penetration into the pores and follicles.
- Exfoliate Regularly—Regular exfoliation is the key to preventing the buildup of skin cells: exfoliating scrubs, body brushes, or just a washcloth can make a big difference.
- Breathable Clothing—Try to wear loose fitting, breathable cotton clothing. The tighter, synthetic materials just compress the sweat and dirt into the pores.
Do you have any skincare tips you share with active clients?