Does working out make you break out? All that sweat has an effect on your skin, but here are the ways you can take care of it! From Dr. Alan Parks, here is your guide to keeping breakouts at bay while staying active.
There are few things that feel better than completing a great workout. Whether you’re hitting the gym, going for a run, or playing a sport, working up a sweat just feels good. But what about the effects of sweating on your skin? Will your workouts start to make you break out? After 30 years of practicing dermatology and working closely with many skin care products at DermWarehouse, I’ve learned that the key is how you deal with the sweat. Between golfing and using the elliptical at the gym, I do some kind of exercise almost every single day. As such an avid exerciser, I’ve had to learn the best ways to handle sweat and there are definitely plenty of ways to ensure you avoid sweat-related breakouts.
The most common breakout spots for both men and women who work out are the face, back, and chest. What many don’t realize, however, is that the breakouts aren’t caused directly from sweating. Instead, they’re caused by how you handle the sweat. When sweat is left on your body for extended periods, all of the germs, bacteria, etc. that your body is expelling during a workout get sucked back in. This is what causes breakouts. You may be especially likely to get acne if you’re wearing tighter workout clothes, which will trap sweat on your body. I’ve become a regular customer at the Under Armour store because I love the dry-fit and cooling materials they use in their clothes to wick moisture away and regulate body temperature.
Sweating is a fact of life, especially for those who love to workout. Are those who work out regularly destined to have skin that reverts back to its acne-filled days of puberty (we all remember those terrible years)? I say no. You just have to learn how to handle the sweat properly.
For those who work out in the morning, wait until after your workout to do your cleanse, tone, treatment and protection. Try to keep your skin free of products before hitting the gym or the track, however, if you’re planning to exercise outside, make sure to apply sunscreen first. My favorite is the Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50.
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If you work out later in the day, make sure to wash your face beforehand to remove any makeup or excess oil that’s clogging your pores, but again, remember to apply that sunscreen if your workout will be outside.
For those who have really oily or acne-prone skin, dealing with sweat will be the toughest for you and a lot of it won’t be the greatest for your skin. Bring a little skin care kit with you to your workouts. Use wipes that contain either a little glycolic, salicylic or LHA in them (or a little of all), to help clean out the pores immediately following a workout. You can saturate 2×2 pads or cotton rounds, put them in little baggies and throw them into their gym bag to wipe skin after a workout. This will ensure that sweat doesn’t get sucked back into your skin, inevitably causing breakouts.
Make sure to always wear clean workout clothes and try to choose clothes that cover as little of your back as possible. For women, racerback sports bras and tanks are the best.
Finally, try to shower as soon as you’re done with your workout. The faster you can rid your body of all of the germs and bacteria caused by sweat, the less likely you’ll be to breakout. If you don’t have time to shower right after a workout, at least try to wash your face. For dry skin, try the Obagi Gentle Cleanser and for oily skin try the Obagi Foaming Gel.
When it comes to working out, as long as you’re smart and proactive, you can deal with acne and breakouts before they become an issue. Keeping your skin and clothes clean will help keep you acne-free and ensure that your workouts leave you feeling and looking great.