Every time I leave the gym or finish a run, the increased blood flow to my face makes me feel like a glowing goddess. I’ve also figured sweating gave my body a chance to detox and drinking lots of water to hydrate after a workout would improve my skin overall. But, in the last few months, I’ve noticed that exercise doesn’t always eradicate your skin problems. In fact, sometimes, it can make them worse. Workouts can very easily lead to clogged pores, bacteria spreading, and diet crashes that make your skin more prone to acne, dryness, and more.
In the last week, I have done a little research to really assess the way women workout and target mistakes that could be affecting the health of our skin. Here are the things we all have to start doing:
1. Stop wearing makeup to the gym.
I understand the appeal of wearing a little foundation to the gym. There’s all of these attractive people there and a little makeup can help you feel more confident in the presence of all that beauty! But guess what? You’ll pay a price. Makeup will mix with sweat during your workout and clog your pores right up…leading to blackheads and other types of acne. Going to the gym with a clean face will leave your skin a lot happier.
2. If you run outdoors, wear sunscreen regardless of the time of year.
Most people associate sunscreen with the summer, but the sun certainly doesn’t it pack its bags and go on vacation during the winter. UV rays can still damage your skin and the warm sun mixed with the cold air can leave your skin dry and cracked. You should never go for a run without putting on at least SPF 30.
3. As soon as you finish your workout, wash your face (especially if you use the pool).
Again, sweat clogs pores and fills them with bacteria, so after your workout you should clean your face off as soon as possible. If you bring a gym bag with you, pack your face wash and use it in the locker room before you head home. If you use the pool at the gym, washing your face off is doubly important because the chlorine from the pool will dry your skin out very quickly.
4. Clean your cellphone with disinfectant as soon as you get home.
Most people use their phone during their workout. Some people listen to music, some use fitness apps, some just scroll through Instagram on the treadmill. However, when you handle your cellphone with sweaty, oily hands, it gets covered in bacteria. Then, later in the day, when you answer a phone call, that bacteria gets transferred to your cheeks and ears.
5. Shower in cold water post workout.
Hot water opens your pores for cleaning, which is great, but you don’t want to dry your skin out either. After you’ve lathered up, turn the water down a few notches to close your pores and prevent dry skin.
6. Eat low-sugar foods after you exercise.
A lot of people like to reward themselves with a treat after they exercise. Unfortunately, reaching for a cupcake after zumba is going to do horrible things to your skin. After you exercise, your body wants to quickly replenish everything it has lost, so eating a sugary snack will cause your body to quickly consume the sugar and hike up your insulin levels. Then, your skin will break out. Instead, try eating something like a turkey and mozzarella roll-up or a two egg omelette with spinach and cheese.
There are many other ways to help improve the health of your skin, but if you workout often, these things are probably the biggest sources of your problems. Tweaking your routine to quit these skincare mistakes should give you that goddess glow all day long. Even if you missed your workout.