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Pre Workout & Post Workout Skincare Guide

by Emily Linehan on January 14, 2020

Does sweat help your skin? 

The answer is yes!...and no. Not only is breaking a sweat great for your body, sweat also helps to purify and rejuvenate your skin. However, sweating with dirty skin or hanging out in your sweaty skin post workout can have many harmful effects including breakouts, excessive dryness and irritation. That being said, there is a way to “sweat smart” for your skin!

It all comes down to your Pre-Workout & Post-Workout Skincare Routines! Here are the quick and dirty -- or should I say -- quick and sweaty details:

Pre-Workout Skincare Tips

Performing a quick cleansing and moisturizing skincare routine before you workout is important for a few reasons. 

  • Wash Off Yesterday’s Skincare Products: If you workout first in the morning, you need to remove any active skin products (e.g. acne treatments, retinol, AHA’s, etc) from the night before. This is because your sweat can reactivate these products, causing a lot of dryness and irritation. 
  • Remove Your Makeup: If you workout with makeup on, this can prevent the sweat from surfacing and clog your pores (even if it is acne safe makeup!) To make matters worse, wiping your sweat with a towel while wearing makeup can push the makeup and bacteria deeper into your pores which can trigger new breakouts.

The Bottom Line? Start your workout with clean, hydrated skin. 

Post-Workout Skincare Tips

Acne Prone Skin

Hanging out in your sweaty skin after workouts will trigger acne significantly as it creates the perfect environment for acne bacteria to thrive. Not only does the salt in our sweat irritate the skin and exacerbate inflamed breakouts, but our sweat mixed with our oil and dead skin cells contributes to clogged pores which are the catalyst for new acne formation.

Also, bacteria needs nutrients to thrive. Water soluble Biotin (which is excreted through our urine & sweat) becomes more concentrated when we sweat, feeding the bacteria it's most nutritious meal.

Recommended Skincare Regimen: On the days you workout, perform your post workout skincare routine in less than 5 minutes after your workout. 

Sensitive & Dehydrated Skin

If you have sensitive skin, you have likely experienced your a stinging or burning feeling on the skin when you sweat. This is because the salt in our sweat is very irritating to the skin. Additionally, if you tend to have dry skin, our sweat can cause even more dryness which leads to this kind of sensitivity.

Salt is very effective at drawing out moisture (think about when we salt veggies or cure meat to pull the water out of these foods.) In the same way, the salt in our sweat pulls moisture from our skin and rapidly dehydrates it.

Dehydrated skin can look 10 years older than hydrated skin, appearing crepey and wrinkled. Also, when the skin is dehydrated, the salt in our sweat is incredibly irritating to our skin and can cause our skin to be more sensitive over time. 

A telltale skin of this irritation is when your skin starts to sting while you sweat. 

Recommended Skincare Regimen: Prevent dehydration and skin irritation by performing your post-workout skin routine in less than 5 minutes after your workout. 

Premature Aging

It’s commonly known that sweat is a waste product of the body. It helps remove the toxins. 

However, if you allow the sweat on your skin to dry on your face, these toxins will reabsorb into your skin and create oxidative stress. This leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin -- No thank you!

To make things worse, exposing your skin to harmful toxins will contribute to premature aging and irritation. In other words, it’s the equivalent of sitting in a dirty diaper.

Recommended Skincare Regimen: Perform your post-workout skin routine in less than 5 minutes after your workout. 

On any day you workout, do the following: 

  • Perform your morning skincare regimen (If you workout in the morning, this counts as your pre workout skincare routine)
  • Perform your post workout skincare regimen in less than 5 minutes after your workout.
  • Perform your nighttime skincare regimen

If you follow these guides, healthy, glowing skin is “no sweat”!


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