Working out is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle - but it sometimes has a tendency to wreak havoc on sensitive skin. Profuse and prolonged perspiration can take its toll, which is why it’s important to be prepared with some effective pre and post workout skin care treatments.
Before your workout
While the most important skin care routines take place AFTER a workout, it’s probably a good idea to wash your face if you use a male concealer or any form of make-up. But if you’re going to be exercising in direct sunlight, don’t forget to apply some sunscreen.
If you’re planning on working up a heavy sweat, your skin will lose much of its moisture through evaporation — which can lead to the dryness that accelerates the aging process. Apply a light moisturiser just before you exercise, and choose a moisturising sunscreen if you’re going to be outdoors.
During your workout
The skin is generally very good at looking after itself, so you won’t need to apply anything to it during your workout. However, try to avoid touching your face if you’re in the gym, as the equipment can be covered in bacteria - much of which has the potential to cause breakouts. Lifting weights regularly can lead to calluses and sores on your hands, so always wear a pair of dedicated gym gloves.
If you’re prone to acne, wearing a headband or cap to keep the sweat from your forehead running onto your face may actually do more harm than good. Headwear can cause a backup of oil and perspiration, which can lead to breakouts.
After your workout
It is important to rehydrate as quickly as possible after a workout. To speed up the process, drink lots of electrolyte-replacing fluids, which help the body to absorb water more quickly. But the most effective treatments for your skin after exercise involve direct care.
The first thing you should do after your workout is wash with a mild cleanser, as this will remove any sweat, oil and toxins from the surface of your skin. Keep the water in your bath or shower lukewarm, as hot water may strip your skin of essential oil and moisture.
Once you’ve thoroughly washed with your chosen cleanser, use an alcohol-free toner to wipe your skin, and then moisturise immediately. It’s important to use a moisturiser that is made for your skin-type, otherwise it won’t have the desired effect - and could actually make things worse.
It’s probably best not to shave immediately after a heavy workout. However, if you do, make sure you use a quality shaving foam that includes a moisturising agent.
If you’re prone to areas of red, blotchy skin after working out, choose a moisturiser or skin serum that contains natural soothing agents such as chamomile, bisabolol and white tea.
Don’t forget to look after your feet
Too many people neglect their feet after a rigorous workout, but doing so can lead to a nasty bout of athlete’s foot. Make sure you thoroughly wash your feet with a cleanser after workouts. And it’s always a good idea to let them breathe for 30 minutes before you put socks and shoes on. If you don’t have time, change into some light shoes or sandals after applying some anti-fungal foot powder.
As long as you keep it as clean and hydrated as possible after exercise, your skin shouldn’t experience too many post-workout problems.