Working out is the best: It gives us energy, helps us sleep better, and makes us feel like a hot tamale. As much as we love it though, there are times when our skin doesn’t exactly agree with us. It goes without saying the benefits of working out far exceed scaling back for the sake of avoiding skin problems, but come on here people!
Here are 6 ways working out messes with your glow, causing skin problems, and what to do about them:
If you find you’re breaking out more now than you did in high school, you’re in luck: There are quite a few simple habits you can establish for acne prevention.
When it comes to facial acne, nix makeup from your repertoire – I don’t care how gorgeous the instructor is! Avoid wiping your face with your hands, especially if you’re using gym equipment, which are breeding grounds for bacteria. Wash your hands before and after working out, and post-workout wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
As for body acne, watch where you put your towels. If the towel you were sweating all over during yoga is now flung over your shoulder, or you accidentally use your body towel to wipe your face... well, you’re done for. Use a different size or color towel for each aspect of your gym session, and do your best to keep them straight. Also, clean your yoga mat regularly with cleansing wipes, or toss it in the tub and give it a good scrub.
This goes for both your face and body: Keep your hair pulled back and wear a sweatband. This will help prevent sweat from dripping off your scalp and onto your face and back. When it comes to causing breakouts, hair products are the worst.
Even if you didn’t sweat that much, wearing your gym clothes for too long can trap bacteria and lead to rashes and skin infections. Ick. Also, if you wear your yoga tights too long after working out, the excess moisture can wreak havoc on your girly parts and lead to a yeast infection. Double ick. No matter how intense your workout session, always change right away and don’t skimp on showering.
I love me a new pair of sneakers – unfortunately, my feet don’t feel the same way. If you need a new pair but love the ones you own, buy another of the same model to acclimate your feet faster. Otherwise, break your new sneaks in slowly – if you don't give your feet enough time to adjust, you'll inevitably end up with blisters.
This doesn’t just happen when you’re breaking them in, either: When the skin on your feet gets sweaty, they become slippery and rub aggressively on the inside of your shoe. Luckily, I love me some wicking socks – and my feet agree. They’re amazing for pulling moisture away from your skin.
Get this: As you’re working out and your heart rate and blood flow increase, millions of tiny capillaries in your skin expand rapidly. This triggers neighboring nerves to send a message to your brain, which interprets the experience as an itching sensation. This is completely natural, especially when you’re adjusting to a new workout routine. As your body adjusts, the itching sensation decreases.
Moisture plus friction equals chafing. If you’re working out in loose-fitting cotton, the fabric stays moist and the constant rubbing irritates your skin. Invest in fitted exercise clothes that are made of wicking material (bonus points if your new duds are seamless and have no tags).
As much as we love making an uber-tough Rocky face as we’re pushing our limits in an intense workout – we don’t want our face to stay that way. The more “grunting faces” you make, the more you over work your expression lines and start looking like a California Raisin. Womp, womp.
How does your skin feel about working out?
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Image: Johan Larsson