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Tips for Avoiding Post Workout Breakouts

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You’re working out to feel and look better, but you’ve heard that sweat can cause your skin to breakout which sort of goes against the whole idea of “looking better.”  Perfect excuse not to workout, right?  Wrong! According to scientific research, sweat is good for your skin providing the following benefits:

  • Increased circulation.
  • Regulates hormones.
  • Prevents damage from free-radicals.
  • Dilates pores which allows sweat to purge trapped dirt and oil.
  • Reverses the skin aging process.

So, if sweat is so good for your skin, what causes post workout breakouts?  Well, studies have shown it’s not the sweat the causes breakouts but, rather, what the sweat encounters that causes breakouts.   With that said, here are some tips to help prevent breakouts and avoid contact with common breakout culprits.

Avoid Post Workout Breakouts Tip 1 – Comfortable Clothing

In 2005 a study was done splitting a group into 3 categories:

  • Group 1 – no exercise
  • Group 2 – exercise and sweating in a 100% cotton T-shirt with a shower 4 hours later
  • Group 3 – exercise and sweating in a 100% cotton T-shirt with a shower 1 hour later

What the study found was, although the participants developed clogged pores, it wasn’t the exercise, the time spent exercising, or the time between exercising and showering that caused the breakouts. In fact, those who exercised had no more breakouts than those who didn’t exercise. 

What they did find was tight or restrictive clothing was the culprit.  According to researchers, anything that rubs can irritate skin and cause bacteria to spread into the pores.  So, looser clothing could be a skin saver. 

In addition, the type of fabric you workout in can cause bacteria.  So, it’s important to look for fabrics that pull moisture away from the skin and help it evaporate, like cotton and similar natural materials.  Avoid man-made fabrics, like Polyester, which can hold moisture and bacteria to the skin.

Avoid Post Workout Breakouts Tip 2 – Remove Your Makeup

Before working out, it’s best to remove make-up by cleansing your skin or using a make-up removing face cloth.  However, if the thought of going to the gym without your “war-paint” isn’t possible, just use a minimalistic approach and use products that are non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) to allow your skin to breathe while you workout.

Avoid Post Workout Breakouts Tip 3 – Don’t Touch Your Face

The gym is a breeding ground for bacteria. Equipment can often have bacteria on it, so be sure to avoid touching your face until you’ve had time to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer. However, if you must wipe the sweat off your face, a better alternative would be to pat (not rub) dry with a clean gym towel or if you are wearing makeup you could use face blotting papers.

Avoid Post Workout Breakouts Tip 4 – Wash After Your Workout

Washing up after your workout will not only help you smell better but also wash away any bacteria you may have collected from equipment, towels, or other objects during your workout that could potentially cause breakouts.

Avoid Post Workout Breakouts Tip 5 – Exfoliate Often

Exfoliating your skin can also be helpful in avoiding post workout breakouts by removing dead skin that can clog pores and cause post workout breakouts.  Use a gentle, walnut shell-based scrub or try dry brushing.

Avoid Post Workout Breakouts Tip 6 – Choose Your Moisturizer Wisely

When working out, it’s important to choose a non-clogging, light-weight moisturizer.  Avoid moisturizers that contain preservatives, fragrances and other ingredients that can aggravate and irritate skin and ultimately cause post workout breakouts.

What is your secret for avoiding post workout breakouts?  Share your tips here.

References:

breakouts postworkout sensitive skin skincare sweat workout

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