Exercise rewards the skin by boosting blood circulation, which helps supply essential nutrients to the organ. This also translates to more oxygenated blood reaching the skin cells, giving you an instant or post-workout glow. It can also tone your muscles and reduce cortisol (stress hormones) levels, allowing you to look and feel your best.
Unfortunately, a sweat session can also leave excess oil, dirt, and toxins on the skin. While this doesn’t necessarily cause acne, the act of allowing sweat to linger on the skin after exercise can cause skin issues. Sweat can combine with dirt and bacteria on the skin, which may clog the pores and cause breakouts.
Why exercise can lead to breakouts
The way you wipe off sweat during and after a workout session can also contribute to problem like acne flare-ups. This is especially true if you use a dirty towel or rub your skin to wipe off the sweat. Rubbing causes friction in the skin, which can then irritate it and trigger breakouts.
You should also know that certain gym equipment (shared ones) can also have dirt, oil, and acne-causing bacteria. If you, for instance, use the equipment and touch or wipe your skin, you may potentially spread the dirt and bacteria to your skin.
Looking after your skin when working out
If you’re worried that exercise can lead to acne or worsen your breakout, you don’t necessarily have to stop working out. A much better approach is to learn how to take care of your skin when sweating. Here are a few things that can help:
Remove or don’t wear makeup
Before working out, make sure to start with a clean skin by removing makeup. It is never advisable to exercise with makeup, but if you can’t go bare faced, be sure to go light or use non-comedogenic products. Limit the use of heavy creams and foundations to avoid clogging your pores.
When working out outdoors, slather on sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Good recommendations include Clear Defense SPF 45 with Broad-Spectrum and Sheer Defense Tinted SPF 46 with Broad-Spectrum. Both are lightweight, oil-free and provide UVA/UVB and infrared protection.
Wash your face and moisturize
To prevent sweat from irritating your skin, use a mild cleanser when washing your face. Be gentle when doing so and avoid rubbing or using hot water. We recommend Deep Cleanser with AHA, which helps reduce excess oil while also treating problematic skin. It helps soften and moisturize the skin, leaving it feeling refreshed and renewed.
After cleansing, follow with a moisturizer. Dr. Sylvia’s Deep Hydrating Moisturizer is one good choice, as it provides superior levels of hydration without the use of oil-based ingredients. It also contains seaweed extract and hyaluronic acid to provide protection necessary for healthy skin.
After working out, shower as soon as possible to rinse away dirt that can contribute to acne. If you can’t shower immediately, wash your face instead or wipe acne-prone areas of the skin using salicylic acid pads. This is particularly helpful if you have oily or acne-prone skin.
Mind your clothes and sports equipment
Wear comfortable workout clothes made of breathable fabric. Be sure to put on fresh and clean ones before working out and wash your clothes after exercising. You should also wipe off any gym equipment before you use it. Moreover, avoid sharing protective equipment like helmets and shoulder pads.
Treat your skin right
If you suspect that exercising is causing your skin to breakout, consider the tips mentioned above. We also suggest following the skin protocol for your skin type. You can contact Cutis Laser Clinics and schedule a consultation with one of our aesthetic doctors to determine the cause of your acne and find the right treatment.
Visit this link to find and purchase skincare products that can protect your skin when working out.