There’s not a lot exercise isn’t good for: mental wellbeing, boosting cardiovascular health, improving memory and sleep, to name a few. Working out ticks an impressive number of boxes where health is concerned. And it turns out that regularly breaking a sweat is great for our skin too. It can help reduce inflammation and prevent free-radical damage while giving us a confidence boost. But to make sure your complexion benefits from any time you spend challenging yourself physically, it’s important to overhaul your beauty routine to suit your active lifestyle.
BEFORE YOUR WORK-OUT
Perspiration loves to clog up pores when given the opportunity. “The skin is an organ of elimination and one of the ways it eliminates waste from the body is through sweat,” explains Dermalogica education manager, Emma Hobson. As much as gym selfies have become the norm, forego your foundation if you’re after a luminous complexion. “Keeping it to the basics is all you need prior and post a work out,” advises Hobson. If you’re an early bird who has thoroughly cleansed the night before, a splash of Ultraceuticals Ultra B Micellar Solution ($49) whisks away debris. PM work-out enthusiast? Opt for a gentle cleansing option. Throw some RMS Beauty Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes ($25 for 20, from Mecca Cosmetica) in your work-out bag to cleanse skin while you’re on the go. Dry, sensitive skin that’s prone to redness will benefit from a spritz of a calming face mist, such as Shiseido Ibuki Quick Fix Mist ($55). Keeping hair away from your face when exercising will prevent unwanted breakouts. Avoid spritzing hair products before you start, as product can drip down onto your face and neck, and clog pores.
AT THE GYM
With so many pairs of hands picking up the same equipment, it’s easy to guess the gym is a breeding ground for bacteria. For the sake of your skin, keep your paws off your face while you’re exercising. A work-out towel to mop up sweat is gym etiquette 101, but it’s important to use the right kind of towel, especially if you suffer from sensitive skin. Soft organic cotton or bamboo is perfect for gently dabbing your forehead to keep exercise-induced breakouts at bay. Avoid washing your towel and your gym clothes with harsh chemicals that could irritate your skin.
WHEN YOU GET HOME
Working up a sweat can result in pesky pimples popping up in unexpected places. If you’ve noticed imperfections showing up under your sports bra, you might be suffering from a common case of acne mechanica – a form of acne that thrives in warm, moist environments where there is friction. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid. Invest in activewear that wicks away perspiration from the body, and always change out of your gear and head for the shower as soon as possible. A dehydrated complexion is often the first to reveal the signs of ageing, which is why restoring hydration to skin after a work-out is crucial. Keep your shower lukewarm or even cool, as hot water can strip skin and hair of hydrating natural oils. Include magnesium in your bodycare routine – it can help combat achy muscles that might follow a big work-out. Take a dip in a bath infused with Salt by Hendrix Bath Salts ($27) or scrub up with REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-fatigue Body Wash ($33).