A grueling workout is nothing short of invigorating. Finishing up a five-mile run can burn off some calories and make you feel like you’re on top of the world. However, while a good sweat session is undeniably refreshing, excess sweat can also clog your pores, causing pimples to form.
Of course, you shouldn’t stop working out! A good bike ride, some weight training, and some laps in the pool are great ways of getting your daily cardio in. But, if you are looking to avoid breakouts as you exercise, we’re sharing ways to protect your skin at all stages of working out ‒ before, during, and after.
Sweat and acne
Does working out cause acne? The answer to this question is tricky. On one hand, working out can be beneficial for preventing new breakouts as regular physical activity can keep blood sugar levels that impact acne in balance.
However, excess sweat from workouts, alongside a buildup of dirt, oil, and bacteria, clogs pores, causing sweat pimples to form. This does not mean you should skip out on exercise, it’s best to adopt new hygiene habits at all stages of your workout instead. Check out some tips below.
Before your workout
Your pre-workout prep probably includes making sure you are wearing comfortable shoes, and that you are adequately hydrated and fueled. However, you’ll also want to make sure your skin is a part of your pre-workout regimen, especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin.
To keep your skin shielded from a sweat acne disaster, there are some things you can do before you enter the gym. For starters, you’ll want to skip out on full-face makeup. (This might be frustrating if your yoga instructor happens to be your crush, but foundation and excess sweat never play well together.) You could also switch to non-comedogenic makeup products. Unlike comedogenic makeup products, they won’t block your pores.
The clothes you wear also make a difference. Re-wearing dirty clothes can introduce your skin to a host of dirt, bacteria, and oils that can clog your pores. So, think about wearing clean clothes each time you work out. You’ll also want to be mindful of how your clothing fits as wearing gym clothes that are too tight can irritate hair follicles and oil glands.
During your workout
As you work out, there are several things you can do to manage excess sweat, dirt, and bacteria from clogging your pores. For starters, keep a clean towel in your gym bag to wipe off sweat from your face or body. And be careful how you wipe your face – rubbing your skin too hard can cause more breakouts to form.
Next, be mindful of the equipment you use. Since gym equipment is shared, it can contain acne-causing bacteria. To avoid breakouts, always clean gym equipment before and after use.
After your workout
Keeping sweat pimples at bay can also be done post-workout. Showering and cleaning the skin with a mild cleanser, can help rinse away excess sweat and impurities, nipping clogged pores in the bud. If you’re in a hurry, and don’t have time to shower, splashing some water on your face can be helpful in removing excess sweat as well.
Let’s wrap it up
So, does sweat cause acne? The answer technically is no. However, keep in mind that when excessive sweat is combined with dirt, bacteria, and oils, it can clog pores, causing sweat pimples to appear.
Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to prevent sweat pimples at all stages of your workout. Not wearing makeup and wearing clean and loose-fitting clothes are all things that should be on your pre-workout checklist.
As you exercise, try to minimize excess sweat by using a clean towel to wipe your face and body, and clean down shared equipment before and after using it.
When you’re done, be sure to shower to rinse off any excess sweat and impurities from your skin. And if you don’t have time for a shower, washing your face with a cleanser, like one of the many proactiv options, will also help prevent excess sweat from clogging your pores.