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How to Take Care of Your Skin Pre-Workout and Post-Workout

A photo of a woman on a yoga ball

Whether you’re trying to beat your best run time, swinging at punching bags, or nailing a downward dog, few things are quite as invigorating as a solid workout. Your heart’s pumping, adrenaline is zooming through your body, and you’re dripping in sweat.

Hold it right there. As rewarding as a drenched towel is post-workout, those sweaty gym sessions can potentially lead to clogged pores and pimples if you don’t take steps to tend to your skin. To help prevent breakouts and keep your skin looking gorgeous, vibrant, and healthy, follow these steps before and after your workout.

Pre-Workout Skincare Tips

Before grabbing your water bottle and hitting the gym, try your best to follow these pre-workout skincare tips.

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

You should wear sunscreen with an SPF 30+ every single day. If you’re exercising outdoors or plan to be in the water, you’ll want to switch to a sunscreen that’s formulated specifically for exercise or swimming. These performance sunscreens typically hold up better to sweat and water, so you’ll be better protected.

Remove Heavy Makeup

While it’s OK to hit the gym in the light makeup you may already be wearing—think Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare and a touch of mascara— it’s best to remove moderate to heavy makeup before working out. We’re talking about thicker foundation formulas, a full eye look, and lipstick. These products can clog your pores, which leads to whiteheads and blackheads.

For an on-the-go, simple solution, try micellar water, such as Miracle Water 3-in-1 Micellar Cleanser. To use, saturate a cotton pad or a clean, soft towel and gently sweep it across your face. For extra stubborn makeup, we recommend swapping in Confidence in a Cleanser. It’s super gentle, but even the heaviest makeup looks don’t stand a chance against its powers.

Wear Moisture-Wicking, Breathable Workout Apparel

Stick to clothing that’s made specifically for exercising. These garments are typically built with moisture-wicking technology that helps keep your skin dry. Also, avoid apparel that’s too tight and rubs against your skin. This isn’t just uncomfortable—it can lead to a type of breakout that’s caused by repeated friction.

Keep Clean

Before your workout, wash your hands with soap and wipe down anything you might use—including weights, yoga mat, machinery, and accessories—with an antibacterial wipe. During your workout, avoid touching your face since this can transfer bacteria to your sweaty, oily skin which is a potential recipe for breakouts. We recommend bringing a clean, soft, moisture-wicking towel to wipe your face as you exercise.

Post-Workout Skincare Tips

With your sweat sesh behind you, make sure to follow these post-workout skincare tips.

Shower ASAP After Your Workout

The temptation to lounge for an hour or two post-workout is real, but do your best to hop into a shower as soon as you can. Even if you’re wearing moisture-wicking apparel, you’ll still be sitting around in sweat and bacteria. Warm water and a non-comedogenic body cleanser are all you need to nix the gym grime.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have time to shower right away, it’s important to at least wash your face with a gentle cleanser. And if you can, pack an outfit change in your workout bag so you can wear clean clothing between your workout and shower.

Use Soothing Skincare Products

Your skin can feel hot—and even look red—for a while after a workout. So you can get on with your day, reach for products that help calm redness and soothe your skin. Formulated with colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, and cucumber, Bye Bye Redness Sensitive Skin Moisturizer neutralizes the look of facial redness and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.

Don’t Forget to Re-Apply Sunscreen

Make sure to re-apply your sunscreen after cleansing and moisturizing your face. If you’re going about regular daily activities, you can switch to CC+ Cream with SPF 50+. This multi-tasking product protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, hydrates, and delivers a flawless-looking complexion.

Wash Your Gym Clothes

Toss your gym clothes into the washing machine as soon as possible post-workout. You definitely don’t want to wear them again (this includes your sports bra) since doing so can lead to pimples. Not to mention, smelly gym clothes sitting in a hamper for an indefinite period of time can stink up your house.

Battling oily skin? Check out our love letter written to our favorite gel moisturizer for oily skin, then read up on the best skincare ingredients for targeting pimples.

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