When you step up your workout goals this summer, remember to set the bar just as high for your skincare routine. Follow this workout mantra for your skin: cleanse, sweat, cleanse. And make sure your gym bag contains:
First things first, don’t sweat the makeup. Wearing foundation or powder already creates a barrier on skin. Combine that with perspiration and oil from exercise, and you’re looking at the perfect recipe for blocked pores and blackheads. If you don’t have time for a complete pre-workout face wash at the sink, use facial cleansing cloths to remove makeup.
Keep broad-spectrum face and body sunscreen in your gym bag, so you’re ready to add a layer of sun protection when you take your workout outside. Better yet, opt for a non-sticky, water-resistant formula so you can sweat (or splash around) worry-free—and remember to take breaks to reapply periodically.
Carry a clean towel to wipe your brow and a separate one to place on machines. Gyms are not just a battleground for building muscle, they’re also a hotbed for bacteria. Clean equipment with wipes and sprays before using handlebars, free weights and yoga mats, not just bike seats or back rests. As always, avoid touching your face during a workout and wash your hands afterwards.
Washing your face after working out is essential. Sulfur-based cleansers are great for oily or acne-prone skin, since they can penetrate clogged pores while reducing the appearance of redness. Exfoliating cleansers can also remove the build-up of sweat, bacteria and oil while drawing impurities from pores—just resist the urge to scrub too hard.
Don’t let humidity fool you. Swimming, sun exposure and extra showers all create the perfect storm of dehydrating factors that can strip skin of its natural moisture barrier, leaving it dry, chapped and sensitive. While steam baths feel great on sore muscles, turn down the temperature to spare your skin irritation. Then apply moisturizing lotion while skin is still damp to seal in moisture.
Whether you’re cardio kickboxing or getting your yoga flow on, aim to start and finish your routine fresh-faced. Remember, taking care of your body by exercising is a beautiful thing.