Whether you’re a gym-lover yourself or you have especially active clients, skin needs particular attention after workouts to stay healthy. Sweat, makeup, and bacteria are common causes of skin issues, and frequent exercise can increase the probability of these complications. Dermatologist Margarita Lolis, M.D. found that many of her patients faced similar skin problems when working out several times per week. "When exercising, we release toxins from our skin, opening up and clearing out our pores,” says Lolis. “However, if you miss one important step when it comes to exercising and skin, you'll start to notice your skin going downhill."
To resolve her clients’ skincare dilemma, she created a head-to-toe routine. Here are Lolis’s 14 skincare hacks for gym rats:
1. Use disposable body wipes or medicated/herbal wet tissues right after a workout. This will help remove excess oil from your skin.
2. Always carry a small towel with you to wipe the excess sweat.
3. Avoid touching your face with bare hands to keep bacterial infections and acne at bay.
4. Use a foot deodorizer to clean your feet after a heavy workout.
5. Skip the tanning bed. It can be harmful to your skin with a range of cosmetic skin concerns, like wrinkles and sunspots. Opt for a self-tanning lotion or working out outdoors with SPF.
6. BYOT (Bring Your Own Towel). If you opt for a gym washroom for a shower, be careful of the towels and cleansing products you use. Do not use towels already used by someone else. The sweat of other people can cause acne on your skin.
7. Wear fresh clothes after showering. Avoid wearing gym clothes after washing yourself clean. Gym clothes can be sweaty and grimy; they may cause acne and other skin-related problems.
8. Avoid close contact. Other people's sweat may also cause skin acne, pimples, and other related problems. That hug to your trainer or gym buddy can end up triggering a breakout.
9. Skip the hot water. Sure, your muscles are sore, and you're in the mood for a hot shower after a workout. Hot water strips skin of vital oils, leaving you with dry, itchy, dull skin.
10. Reduce redness. Calm down a flushed face with your own redness control remedy made up of a little bit of iced green tea and a spray bottle. You'll cool down your skin and add in a few extra antioxidants in the process.
11. Rehydrate your skin. After a good workout and cleanse, it's critical to re-establish the natural moisture and oils that were removed from your skin. When it comes to your face, you should invest in a high-quality, fast-absorbing, nutrient-rich product that includes vitamins A and E and the super-ingredient hyaluronic acid. If you exercised outdoors, a moisturizer with antioxidant ingredients can help repair damage caused by UV exposure and other environmental factors.
12. Go bare. Morning gym people, there’s no need to apply makeup. If you work out after work, consider taking a face wipe to remove dirt and makeup, which may blend with sweat, triggering breakouts. You want your skin to be able to breathe while you work out.
13. Wear a hairband. Hair should always be pulled back from your face, not only because of sweat, but because of your hair products, too. If you see breakouts on your forehead or hairline, mousses, gels, or other hair products could be to blame. An elastic headband worn behind the ears about an inch from the hairline keeps stray hairs off the face.
14. Wear gloves when working out. In addition to protecting hands from rough calluses, gloves also prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses. If you choose not to wear gloves during a workout, disinfect your equipment with a wipe or spray.