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Your Best Ever Workout Skincare Routine

Your Best Ever Workout Skincare Routine

Building up a sweat is awesome. But sticky skin, blocked pores and post-workout breakouts? Not so much. Here’s how to get ahead of that…

Working out can sometimes feel like a real chore but the benefits far outweigh any downsides like feeling totally beat, sweaty and out of breath. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, regular physical activity not only improves your bones and muscles, but may help reduce your risks of all types of health-related problems such as depression, cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Exercise has also been proven to be pretty darn great for your skin. We’re talking improved sleep, less emotional anxiety and way better skin thanks to those feel-good endorphins you get during and after exercise. And of course, there’s that immediate post-workout glow we all know and love which is all down to increased blood flow to your skin and the complexion-loving oxygen and nutrients that come with it.

Exercise, however, can also have its downsides when it comes to the look, feel and health of your skin. Which is why, as always, preparation is key! Read on for our top dos and don’ts for staying ahead of the game…


1. DON’T Worry About Having Super Clean Skin

Most people think you should only ever exercise with squeaky clean, makeup-free skin, but that’s not strictly true. In fact, cleansing your skin too often can compromise your barrier function, causing dryness, dehydration and maybe even a little irritation if you're not super careful. This means it’s no biggie if you want to work out straight after work but can’t be bothered to cleanse your face first.

However, if you’re a heavy makeup wearer, you might want to rethink this rule. A face full of heavy makeup – especially oil-based products that aren’t non-comedogenic – could clog your pores and cause sweat, oil and bacteria to build. up. Not ideal. Especially if you’re prone to breakouts. For you, we recommend removing your makeup first with an oil-based remover.

2. DO Avoid Heavy Moisturizers

Tempted to moisturize before building up a sweat? Yeah... about that. Heavy moisturizers usually contain occlusive ingredients like cocoa butter and coconut oil which are awesome at trapping in essential moisture for softer, more hydrated skin. When it comes to exercising, however, they’re majorly bad news.

How so? Well, anything that creates a barrier on the skin’s surface prevents you from sweating – an essential bodily function that helps cool you down and balance your internal body temperature. Not only that, but occlusive moisturizers work hard to trap everything but the kitchen sink in those precious pores of yours. Avoid them like the plague before any gym or training sesh.

3. Do Apply Sunscreen If You’re Working Out Outside

The one thing you really DO want on your skin if you’re exercising outside? Sunscreen. Preferably one that’s at least SPF 30, recommends the American Academy of Dermatology.

Sure, the sun makes us all feel happier and healthier but it’s hella bad for your precious skin, creating an abundance of collagen-damaging free radicals and being the number one cause of premature aging.

Also: skin cancer. Very serious business.

Always apply a good layer of broad-spectrum sunscreen (this means it protects you from both UVA and UVB radiation) before working out. Our SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen is perfect because it combines free radical-busting vitamin C with zinc oxide to further protect your skin from harm.


1. DO Ditch Your Workout Clothes ASAP

Tight clothing is great for working out, but it’s not particularly ‘breathable’ and can trap sweat, oils and bacteria next to your skin. Couple this will all that friction that’s caused by tight clothes rubbing against your skin and you could have a real problem on your hands in the form of irritation and body breakouts.

Remove your sweaty, workout gear straight away and you’ll be fine.

2. DO Cleanse Straight Away

Cleansing your skin before working out might not be imperative, but doing it afterwards is a whole different story. After building up a sweat you absolutely must thoroughly cleanse your skin to do away with all that oil, grime and debris. Otherwise they’ll rest in your pores and cause absolute mayhem.

Wash your face immediately after working out with a gentle but effective cleanser that helps balance your skin and detox your pores. We love Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser which contains activated coconut charcoal to mop up excess oils and sweat, plus anti-bacterial ylang ylang oil to purify your post-workout skin.

And don’t forget your body, either. In fact, to hell with it – jump in that shower and give yourself some major cleansing love from head to toe.

3. DON’T Go Big On Exfoliation

Sure, it’s tempting to have a good old exfoliation sesh after exercising to scrub away all that dirt and grime, but you’re better off leaving this for another time. And the reason is simple. Post-workout skin is especially delicate so it needs to be dealt with carefully.

You could try Ocean Minerals Super Toner for a gentle, exfoliating freshen up, though. This toning spray contains glycolic acid, a chemical exfoliator that helps dissolve the glue between dead skin cells, encouraging them to slough off. It’ll also help cool and hydrate your skin as an extra side benefit.

4. DO Try A Refreshing Cool Rinse

Speaking of cooling down, a quick blast of cool (although not too chilly!) water at the end of your cleanse or shower is an awesome way to counteract all that heat energy caused by physical exercise. This will help calm your skin, reduce redness and decrease any chances of inflammation.

Love that for you.

More About This Article

Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.