People talk about that post-workout "glow" as if we all walk out of the gym looking like Taylor Swift. In reality, I feel red-faced and messy-haired, and can almost always count on some kind of skin issue arriving along with my day two soreness. It's a Catch-22: We work out for that glow, but end up doing damage to our skin — at least, on the surface.
To stop that vicious cycle, I turned to Sian Sutherland, a co-founder of Mio Skincare. Because, hey, when you're working that hard to look good, you want to enjoy the payoff, right?
[Exercise] brings oxygen and nutrients to your skin, imparting that healthy glow.
"Exercising is fantastic for your skin in so many ways!" Sutherland says. "It brings oxygen and nutrients to your skin, imparting that healthy glow." And, with these seven tips, she'll help you keep it that way — before, during, and after the gym.
Ditch All Your Makeup
Wearing a full face of makeup at the gym is the easiest way to earn side-eyes and eye-rolls from your fellow gym-goers, along with a high school-worthy case of acne.
"Exercising comes with sweat, dirt — especially outdoors — oil, and, heaven forbid, melted makeup — the biggest causes of breakouts at the gym," Sutherland says.
Don't Over-Cleanse Post-Workout
"Wash your face gently after working out," Sutherland says.
"If you kept your face fresh and clean without makeup, your skin is going to be flushed but healthy already — well-oxygenated and well-moisturized, naturally."
Many facial wipes are designed to gently remove makeup and dirt — they will cleanse and moisturize at the same time.
Try Body Oils Instead of Lotion
Typical lotions and creams can clog pores all over your body — not just on your face. Instead, "try using body oils rather than lotions for the purest way to moisturize your skin post-shower," Sutherland says.
She recommends a Mio product called Activist Firming Active Body Oil, which she calls a "superfood for your skin." Look for vitamins, anti-oxidents and Omegas in skin oils to use before or after a workout.
Exfoliate More Often
Breakouts on your back or chest (thanks to sweaty sports bra straps) are particularly gross post-workout. To avoid them, use a gentle body scrub three times each week — Sutherland says this will keep pores clear and skin functioning well.
Check Your Products' Ingredients
Avoid harsh ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate or alcohol-based wipes, which might either strip your skin of oils or overstimulate and cause increased oil production.
Anything that contains probiotics or gentle exfoliants like fruit acids is perfect to keep skin fresh and healthy.
What are good ingredients to have? "Anything that contains probiotics or gentle exfoliants like fruit acids is perfect to keep skin fresh and healthy," Sutherland says.
Don't Linger in Sweaty Clothes
"Body acne worsens when your skin is sweaty and oily for long periods of time," writes dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey. Sutherland agrees, and recommends using a cleansing wipe on acne-prone areas immediately after a workout to freshen up.
Bring a change of clothes with you to the gym and get out of your sweaty clothes, even if you don't have time to shower. This applies if you frequently break out below the neck — on your back, chest, shoulders, and event, your butt.
Wash Your Hands
No matter what you're touching in a gym, you're picking up germs. Those cleansing wipes are all over for a reason, people — use 'em on your equipment!
Avoid touching your face while you're working out.
Avoid touching your face while you're working out, and wash your hands regularly, or stick a bottle of hand sanitizer in your gym bag. "Your skin is a highly effective barrier against harmful germs and you need it to work for itself," Sutherland says.