How To Care For Your Skin When Working Out


Updated 5/22/17. For many people, regular exercise is part of their weekly routine. (It is for mine. I’m an avid CrossFitter.) But people are always confused as to how they should best care for their skin before, during, and after exercise. Read on for my expert advice.

How should I prepare my skin for exercising? 

It’s actually more important to wash your skin after than before working out since oils, bacteria, and sweat have accumulated on the skin. But, if you are wearing a heavy foundation it’s good to wash your skin pre-workout since heat, sweat and makeup can not be a good combination. Cleanse with a mild, non-drying cleanser followed by an alcohol-free toner and a lightweight oil-free lotion like Skin Recovery Lotion.

If you will be exposed to daylight or sunlight during exercise, then use a lightweight, non-pore clogging moisturizer with sunscreen like Daily Protection SPF 30. To give additional sun protection, I recommend dusting on an SPF-infused mineral powder like ColoreScience SPF 50 Mineral Powder. It’s lightweight, water-resistant, gives a tiny bit of coverage to even out your skin tone and most importantly, it protects your skin from UV rays.

If you’re going to be exercising outdoors and will be sweating a lot, then you need perform a very special skincare routine prior to working out. Read these sweat-proof sunscreen tricks that won’t clog your pores.

Is it best not to wear makeup? 

Eye makeup and lipstick are fine to wear. If you’re wearing a light foundation, tinted moisturizer or mineral powder, you may be just fine leaving your skin as is and waiting to clean it off post-workout.

Should I wash my skin and just skip using moisturizer prior to working out?

When you exercise, your skin loses water due to evaporation, leaving the skin dehydrated. Dehydrated skin increases surface lines and causes skin cells to die prematurely, leading to premature aging and the potential for pores to clog. It’s never suggested to leave the skin bare after cleansing so using a lightweight moisturizer will help to retain the water in the skin. If you are exercising outdoors, its best to use a very light moisturizer with a sunscreen.

Is it beneficial to use a misting spray while working out? 

Misting your skin is not recommended. If you mist your skin with a water-based toner and do not apply any moisturizer over it to seal in the hydrating ingredients, it will attract the moisture and water out of your skin and vanish into the dry air. Moisture acts like a magnet in that it attracts other moisture and will always go to the driest area. Misting your skin will make the moisture within your skin evaporate out, leaving it tight, dry, and dehydrated. This is also true of misting your skin on an airplane, which so many people do.

Should I avoid touching my face during workouts? Especially when using cardio or weightlifting machines? 

The machines do breed bacteria, so it it best to keep your hands off of your skin. You don’t want to introduce bacteria to the skin which can possibly result in new breakouts, or the spreading of existing break outs. Always wash your hands before and after working out.

Should I wear a headband, hat or bandana to collect the sweat from not dripping down my face? 

For acne-prone skin types, headbands, hats, or bandanas across the forehead are not recommended as they may cause a backup of oil and perspiration in the pores.This results in little clogged bumps or breakouts. If your skin is not prone to breakouts, this may not be an issue for you. If you find that you’re getting clogged pores, try to keep your headband or bandana further back in your hairline but, not directly across the forehead. Read: Does Sweat Cause Acne?

How important it is for my skin to drink lots of water before and after a workout?

Since you lose so much water from perspiration, it is crucial that you replace it by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after workouts. The electrolyte-replacing drinks are especially helpful for re-hydrating the body. From a skin care standpoint, research concludes that drinking water is the least efficient way to hydrate the skin. Skin hydration levels have much more to do with what you are using topically on the skin. A product like Skin Drink Concentrate underneath moisturizer after working out will restore the proper water levels in the skin.

How should I care for my skin after I workout? 

Post-workout, wash with a mild gel cleanser as this will help to thoroughly remove oil, toxins, and sweat. I LOVE using Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel because the mint botanicals feel so cool and refreshing on the skin and it helps to cool me down fast, especially working out in the hot Austin, TX summers. Whether after a workout or anytime you wash your skin, be sure to avoid cleansers that contain Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. These ingredients will pull water out of the skin cells leaving it dehydrated. After cleansing, wipe your skin with an alcohol-free toner over the skin and immediately apply a moisturizer for your skin type. If it’s still daylight and your skin will be exposed to this, be sure to apply a moisturizer with sunscreen or dust on SPF mineral powder. If you have a lot of redness in your skin after your workout, look for moisturizers or skin serums with soothing ingredients like white tea, sea whip, azulene, chamomile and bisabolol (like found in Redness Care Firming Serum) to help to calm the skin down by taking the pressure off of capillaries. If you have the time when you get home, apply a thin layer of a gel-based mask like Bio Calm Repair Masque. This will cool heat-activated skin and infuse water deep into the cells. If you keep it stored in the refrigerator, it will calm the skin down even faster. The skin feels sooooo good after it’s rinsed off.

Keep up the great work with your exercise program and follow these tips to ensure your skin stays clear and healthy-looking.