Breaking into a sweat is great for your skin! Regular exercise can help improve blood circulation for better, healthier skin as it brings vital oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells and aids your natural beauty. Sweating helps your body expel toxins that buildup in your body as well as unclog blocked pores.
Not only that – exercising can also help with skin conditions like acne and eczema. Although the exact explanation of how it can help is still being researched, there are some links to suggest that stress-busting activities like workout can regulate sebum. This is important since producing too much sebum can be a contributing factor to acne.
Ready to lace up your gym shoes? Before you get your blood pumping, here are 7 skincare tips you should consider when working out:
1. Exercising outdoors? Don’t forget sunscreen
The sun shines brightly in Singapore so sunscreen should be an integral part of your skincare routine whenever you head out. This includes exercising. But the sunscreen you use when exercising may need to be different from your regular one because you will be sweating a lot more than usual.
So look for a sunscreen that is lighter on the skin and possibly one that doesn’t sting when it gets into your eyes as you wipe the sweat off. If you plan to stay outdoors for long, remember to pack some sunscreen with you to reapply as sweat can remove sunscreen, leaving you exposed.
2. Remove heavy makeup before working out
If you have full coverage makeup on – such as foundation or powders, it might be a good idea to wash your face before working out. Heavy makeup can block pores so it’s always a good idea have clean skin before you start sweating.
Remember to lightly moisturise your skin after cleansing to prevent skin from drying out. But skip the expensive stuff as you’ll need to cleanse again post-workout (see tip #4). If you only have basic makeup on (eyeshadows, blusher or BB cream), you can go ahead and skip this step.
3. Leave out deodorant
As tempting as it sounds to use deodorant to cover up sweat smells, it doesn’t do your skin any good in the long run. Most commercial deodorant work by blocking your pores to prevent them from sweating. This means that the toxins your body is trying hard to expel stays in your body.
Opt instead for a natural deodorant that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals such as aluminium, fragrances or colouring. Better still, jump into a quick shower post workout!
4. Cleanse and shower after exercising
As much as possible, try to resist the temptation to stay in your sweaty gear after you’re done. Not only will you start to smell, your clothes and skin are probably full of toxin-infused sweat. When left on the skin for too long, they can cause irritation (ever heard of a sweat rash?) and breakouts.
How long do you have before it’s time to get changed? Aim for 30 minutes or less after working out. Be sure to wash your hair too, as the scalp is also skin that has sweat glands to expel toxins.
5. Hydrate and moisturise
Since sweat is mainly composed of water, you will need to replace the lost moisture in your body post workout. This is why it’s important to stay hydrated during and after working out, to prevent dehydration. The same principle applies to your skin too.
The easiest and cheapest way to hydrate your skin would be to apply moisturiser or oil to slightly damp skin. The water on your skin will blend in with your facial moisturiser and work its way into your skin. Or consider investing in a facial mist if you are looking to add beneficial plant extracts to help improve skin. If you have dry skin, it might be worth applying an extra layer of moisturiser to help keep hydration levels at their best.
6. Multitask with a hair mask
When working out, it makes sense to tie your hair back. This will keep away pesky hair strands from your eyes and also avoid having them sticking to your face when you sweat. And since you’re going to be tying up your hair, why not multitask with a hair mask?
I love using virgin coconut oil as a hair mask as it can make its way into the hair shaft, helping to moisturise your hair from within. Gently massage 1-2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil onto scalp and hair ends before working out. Shampoo your hair after (you may need to do it twice to remove all traces of oil) and you can skip the conditioner too, as your hair will be soft and bouncy.
7. Watch out for those sweatbands
Sweatbands are great for wicking sweat from your eyes but they might cause blocked pores. If you are prone to breakouts, it might be worth skipping sweatbands altogether. The same applies to hats and bandanas – as anything that covers the skin while you sweat can trigger breakouts.
A better option would be to use a towel or wristbands to wipe sweat away. If you do need headgear during exercise (something worth having when you’re outdoors), try to keep the fabric away from your skin or wear them loose to ensure your skin can breathe properly.