Whether it's an after-work HIIT class or a crack-of-dawn yoga session, many of us that enjoy working out will gladly admit there’s one thing we wouldn’t mind banishing from our exercise routine – the ‘sweaty mess’ aftermath. If you’ve ever tried to put your make-up on and had it slide straight off, you’ll know what we mean.
Looking like a red-faced, lagoon-living creature isn’t something most of us aim for in our day-to-day lives; worse still, running into someone you know after said workout. Don’t despair though, because there are steps you can take to look completely glowing and fresh-faced post-workout, and to use the rush of extra oxygen to your skin to your advantage.
Before we get to the solution, it’s good to know what actually happens to your skin when you sweat.
What happens to your skin during exercise?
Clogged pores: leaving sweat on your skin leads to clogged pores, which make skin susceptible to breakouts.
Blemishes: Sweat is an activator for blemish-causing bacteria to thrive, grow and settle into pores.
Dehydration: The sodium in sweat dehydrates skin, which can cause irritation.
Photo sensitivity: When sweat is present on the body, you are 40% more susceptible to UV rays and sunburn, compared to when skin is clean and dry.
Adding a face wash that’s suitable for our skin is just as important. For a post-gym boost, celebrity aesthetician and skincare expert Renée Rouleau recommends choosing a mild gel cleanser, “as this will help thoroughly remove oil, toxins, and sweat.” She also cautions us to “avoid cleansers that contain Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. These ingredients will pull water out of the skin’s cells, leaving it dehydrated.”
A Handy Mid-Workout Tip
We don’t mean to send you into a panic, but most gyms are breeding grounds for bacteria. In fact, it’s estimated that 63% of gym equipment is teeming with the rhinovirus, the main culprit behind the common cold, while free weights can be infected with up to 74% more bacteria than a public toilet.
To prevent picking up any nasty bugs at the gym and protect you skin at the same time, be sure to keep your hands away from your face during your workout. Giving your hands a thorough scrub with hot, soapy water on a regular basis isn’t a bad idea either!
Catching The Afterglow
If you want to achieve that radiant glow, the first thing to do after you finish your workout is to rid your skin of dirt: “Washing your face immediately after the workout should be non-negotiable,” says Rachel Nazarian, M.D., Mount Sinai Hospital, Department of Dermatology.
But the splash-and-dash technique will not rid your face from the viruses and bacteria that may have climbed into your sweaty pores: “You should do more than gently wipe your face dry after class,” says Elizabeth Hale, M.D., NYC dermatologist and co-founder of Complete Skin MD.
“Bacteria and oils also accumulate during a workout, and when they linger on your skin, you may be more prone to breakouts,” she added.
Choosing a Proper Face Wash
As tempting as it may be to jump straight into a hot shower, it’s important to avoid making the water temperature too high. Hot water can dry out the skin, especially when it’s already warm from your workout. Pat your skin dry when you’re done washing your face, as too much rubbing can irritate it.
Something else to keep in mind is what to clean your face with. Do you go old-school with a washcloth? Use your hands? Or maybe, you go for something a little more specialist. One option is FOREO’s LUNA face cleansers and massagers, which made a huge splash when they burst onto the scene a few years back.
Getting your kit right
Combining a cleansing brush and anti-ageing massager, it’s been expertly designed for post-workout skincare, gently removing 99.5% of dirt, oil, bacteria and sweat. With ultra-soft silicone bristles, it caters to sensitive post-workout complexions by being gentle on the skin. Even better, these bristles are up to 35 x more hygienic than cotton towels or nylon bristles.
Want to learn more about the importance of a post-workout cleanser? Visit Foreo at stand W24 in The Locker Room at Balance Festival this year! eck the Foreo website and Instagram more details!More from the Journal