Q&A: What To Do When Your Workout Is Working Against Your Skin

Q&A: What To Do When Your Workout Is Working Against Your Skin

Exercise is essential for physical health, but also gets you a glowing complexion. It oxygenates your skin, boosts blood flow, and promotes a healthy regeneration of skin cells. What does this mean? A smoother complexion. Exercise helps expel those everyday toxins, so get your sweat on and combat acne, dullness, and patchy skin. However, without proper pre and post workout rituals, your workout could be working against your skin. We sat down with two fitness experts from our Wellness Collective -  Vilmaliz Bosque and Carlos Concepcion - and asked them for their tips and tricks to help you get your sweat on, no sweat!

Q: Can It Make Your Acne Worse? A: Yes.

Working out can contribute to a major skin woe – acne. Breaking a sweat is great, but breakouts not so much. Following exercise, there is an increased buildup of bacteria on the skin. If you go too long without cleansing, the combination of natural oils and that post workout-glisten could result in some unwelcome blemishes. 

What you can do:

DON’T wear makeup while you work out – Start with a clean slate: AKA give your skin a good cleanse before you start that Zoom vinyasa flow. 

Avoid super tight clothes that can trap in moisture, or opt for a breathable material.  

Shower immediately after your workout to avoid breakouts and irritation.


Q: Can It Make My Skin More Irritated? A: Yes.

Was that high intensity cardio a little too intense? Overworking your body means a steep increase in body temperature. Sometimes that post cardio flush can lead to flare-ups: redness or itchy patches on the skin.To dodge skin irritation, we recommend exercising in a cooler environment, or keeping your cool via other means. Be sure to give yourself a well deserved break, maybe relaxing into child's pose, or taking a moment to hydrate. If you’re feeling extra, try a cooling face mist (We love Acure’s Cucumber Hyaluronic Mist). 

What you can do:

If you suffer from rosacea, moisturize your skin beforehand to minimize irritation.

Try a calming serum to help reduce the redness on your skin (we especially love the Redness Neutralizer from Skinceuticals

If you experience a harsh flare-up, apply a cold compress.

As a last resort, try an antihistamine before you start your routine (but consult with your dermatologist first) 

Q: Should I Be That Worried About Chafing? A: Yes.

Have you been getting your reps in? We’re all for fitness, but your reps could be causing some repetitive friction, AKA chafing (we know, it’s no fun.) Chafing happens when your skin and clothes rub against each other, causing friction. This, combined with moisture build-up during exercise, can cause painful irritation.

This irritation can eventually lead to open sores and infection in serious cases - which could lead to an extended recovery time outside of the gym.

Lastly, excessive irritation from chafing can also darken or pigment skin in that area - contributing to long term unevenness in skin tone.

Here are some tips on avoiding chafing: 

Use a strong antiperspirant to prevent excessive sweat, which can exacerbate friction

Moisturize beforehand to prevent friction from occurring 

Wear proper clothing that targets high-risk areas like inner thighs

Q: Can the Sun Really Effect Me When I'm Out for My Routine? A: Yes. 

The sun is not your friend. While exercising outdoors provides a much-needed break from the monotonous home routine (quarantine vibes are not it), prolonged sun exposure can harm your skin; we’re talking discoloration, premature signs of aging, and can lead to skin to skin cancer. We are all about getting some sunny vitamin D, but do so responsibly. Be sure to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outside, and apply every 2 hours you’re exposed to sunlight. Our cult favorite here at Pore House is the Elta MD UV Daily Broad Spectrum SPF 40. Transparent Zinc, need we say more?!

And Always Remember: Makeup and Exercise do not Mix

We get it, it can be tempting to swipe some concealer over those dark circles pre morning workout, but your skin will thank you later when you opt for a fresh face. To optimize your daily exercise without disrupting your glow, save those makeup tutorial skills for your virtual date,  or wine night. Makeup will clog your pores, and when combined with the bacteria from sweat, will result in a pesky breakout.  Always remember to cleanse your face before and after a workout and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

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