If you’ve ever gone straight from the gym to work or to class, you’ll know the struggle of trying to avoid breakouts after your sweat sesh. By now, you likely know that the sebum and other particles in sweat can sit on your pores and lead to acne — combine it with other debris from the gym and you have a breakout waiting to happen. But, if you carry a few simple items in your gym bag, you can stop these blemishes in their tracks.
The first step is to head to the gym with a clean face. Byrdie explains that, since your pores open when you exercise, anything laying on top of your skin will readily seep into them once you start working out. The same is true for makeup — if it’s already on your face, it can fall into your pores. Remove your makeup and cleanse before your sweat sesh to ensure you aren’t starting off behind the eight ball.
Dr. Jeannette Graf tells the outlet, “The combination of makeup and sweat will clog pores and can potentially cause breakouts. Carry small astringent pads with you such as witch hazel wipes to periodically wipe off the sweat and oil during your workout to prevent oil clogging.”
The same is true for your post workout routine as well — make sure you cleanse right after to remove the irritants that may have come from your perspiration. “Ideally, something with salicylic acid (2 percent strength) to clear the pores from sweat and oil,” adds Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, MD.
Finish your facial cleanse with a spritz of cold water
After your workout, your pores are expanded and you probably have some sweat on your face. It’s time to cleanse. But, following your wash, consider rinsing your face with cooler (but not cold) water to help the pores shrink back down to size, Well+Good recommends. Rather than walking around with open pores ready to absorb whatever is in the air, this will help seal them off to other potential debris.
If your skin is still red and irritated, a soothing mist or toner can help as well. Calming inflamed spots, mists or gels can soothe your cells after a tough workout, the outlet explains. But, no matter what, you should shower after your workout — particularly if body acne is an issue for you. “It’s common to see fungal folliculitis that can look like acne. This is common in our patients who do workout classes and then head to brunch without showering,” Dr. Bhanusali says to Byrdie. You can also just do a rinse if a full shower isn’t in the cards for any particular day.
Of course, always wearing clean workout clothes can help with this as well. If it touches your skin or gets even slightly sweaty, it’s time for it to head into the wash. The same goes for your equipment.
“Always wipe down your exercise equipment whether it’s a home gym or public gym. Sanitizing equipment before use will help get rid of the bacteria and dirt that may potentially find its way to your skin, causing breakouts as a result,” Dr. Graf adds.
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