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What to Do Before, During and After a Workout So You Don't Break Out

April 29, 2015 2 min read

Exercise is good for you body but you can't forget to look after your skin. If you don't, you could be left with a face full of pimples caused by blocked pores. Lucky for you, we've found some easy steps for you to follow before, during and after your workout to keep your skin looking clear.  

Remove your makeup

"The combination of sweat and wearing makeup can cause a buildup of excess oil," says David E. Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. "Since pores open up while sweating, we don't want to block the skin's natural ability to breathe by clogging it up with makeup." This can lead to  acne cosmetica which looks like little red bumps without any inflammation. Bank suggests using cleansing towelettes which can be easily stored in your gym bag. Even if you aren't wearing any make up, it is still important to cleanse you skin beforehand. “Treating the skin beforehand with something that takes the bacteria out, like a topical antibiotic or topical benzoyl peroxide, is your best prevention," says Ronald Moy, M.D., a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. "These acne medications can go deeper into the hair follicle and stop some of that bacteria that may develop as someone is perspiring."

Choose the right sunscreen

If you are exercising outside, an SPF is absolutely necessary but it is important to pick the right formula. Oily sunscreen can block your pores causing pimples so try for a lighter formula.

Go light on hair products

"A lot of people use conditioners and other products that are very oily and [when they travel down your face or back from sweat] they can clog the pores,” says Moy. “That's why you often see acne on your forehead." Try to avoid using these products on the days you know you have an intense workout. If you can't do that, Moy suggests wearing a headband to keep the sweat (and product) from running down your face.  

Wipe down your equipment

Don't trust that others have done it. Bacteria breeds on exercise machines and if you touch your face even once during the workout, it is now on your skin. Wipe each surface with antibacterial wipes before you begin.  

Wash your face immediately

To remove the build up of any bacteria, wash your face ASAP after a workout. Moy recommends fighting potential acne with a benzoyl peroxide-infused cleanser.

Subdue any irritation

Buildup of bacteria can also cause inflammation," says Moy. Use an anti-inflammatory moisturizer to add hydration back to the skin, calm irritation and prevent breakouts.

Hop in the shower

Hanging out in your sweaty clothes can lead to body acne."If sweat builds up on your skin, it will clog your pores and not allow your skin to breathe," says Bank. If you can't get to a shower right away, wipe off the acne prone areas where sweat accumulates like the back, chest and stomach. Some helpful tips here. Do you have any to add?

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