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Skin game strong: skincare tips for your next workout

Are you sweating or glowing?
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RIHAN ABU AFFAN/THE VARSITY
RIHAN ABU AFFAN/THE VARSITY

Working out is undeniably healthy for your body, but is it healthy for your skin? Although sweat itself cannot cause acne and skin irritation, working out can cause a buildup of bacteria on the skin, leading to those issues. So, in order to keep your skin as great as your workouts, here are some skincare tips for pre-, mid-, and post-exercise. 

1. Take your makeup off before your sweat session

As your face heats up, your pores expand, meaning that any makeup on your skin will have a higher chance of clogging your pores. So, before you head off to the gym, outdoors for a run, or to your living room for a YouTube workout, consider washing your face beforehand with a gentle cleanser, or using a gentle wipe. 

2. Protect yourself from the sun

If you’re working out outside, it’s super important to protect your skin from the sun. Sun damage can have consequences as mundane as sunburns and wrinkles, and as serious as cancerous moles. Sunscreen is the best way to preserve your skin health! 

Look for a lightweight formula that won’t break you out: look for products that label themselves as “non-comedogenic” — Neutrogena’s Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunblock SPF 55 — meaning that the product won’t clog your pores. Newer sunscreens use micronized zinc and titanium dioxide that are more cosmetically elegant.   

3. Wash your face!

Once you’re done getting your sweat on, make sure to wash your face as soon as you can afterward to remove any built up bacteria from your pores. Use a gentle cleanser that won’t irritate your skin, like Cetaphil or CeraVe. 

4. Scrub-a-dub-dub

An extra step you can take to prevent post-workout breakouts is to use a chemical exfoliant to really clear your pores out of bacteria and dead skin cells. Physical exfoliators, like sugar or walnut scrubs, can oftentimes be too harsh and can aggravate your skin. Chemical exfoliants can produce the same effect but in a gentler and more effective fashion.