Yes, exercise is great for helping us look and feel our best but how does it affect the largest organ in the body? We’re joined by Dr Rekha Tailor of the Health & Aesthetics Clinic, who shares her tips for how to sweat proof your skin…
Can daily sweating from exercise contribute to acne?
Exercising makes us sweat and can lead to problem skin, oily skin, breakouts and dehydration. Impurities from sweat, flushes out of your skin and can linger if not washed off properly. The skin then begins to re-absorb which can make the pH factors change and could lead to rashes or irritated skin.
Rehydrate by drinking plenty of water during and after your workout and ensure you cleanse after a workout and shower off any sweat. A regular facial to detoxify the skin and deep cleanse will help to maintain a clear, youthful complexion. At Health & Aesthetics, we offer our popular Hydrafacial treatment which is the ultimate skin detoxifying and deep cleansing experience. It’s non-invasive, soothing, non-irritating and with regular treatments the skin will look radiant, glowing and more youthful with great lasting results.
Heat and humidity can cause sweat ducts to become blocked and swell, leading to a heat rash, skin or body acne. If you’re going for a run, bike ride or walk, rest in shade every now and then, wear breathable fabrics and rehydrate constantly with lots of water. Cold compresses can help with heat rashes as they reduce swelling and discomfort. Showering immediately after working out will remove excess oil, bacteria, dirt and other impurities. We recommend Dr Zein Obagi’s skincare range which helps control oil, bacteria and also environmental factors.
Remember that each time we touch a piece of gym equipment we are coming into contact with bacteria that can cause illness and can be easily spread, leading to acne and nasty skin infections. Wherever possible wipe down gym equipment with some anti-bacterial wipes and never touch your face without washing your hands first.
How should we protect ourselves when training outside?
Make sure you apply a water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least a factor 30 before heading out. UV exposure can seriously damage your skin and is the biggest cause of premature ageing, leading to a breakdown of collagen, not to mention the increased risk of skin cancer. We highly recommend ZO Daily Sheer SPF50 to improve your skin health.
What about swimming?
Swimming can also have a negative consequence on your skin. The high number of chemicals in chlorine can lead to tight, dry, flaky skin and can further irritate conditions such as eczema and other dry skin complications. Chlorine gets into the skin cells, stripping away any water, natural oils and sebum causing the surface of the skin to dry and crack, leading to wrinkles and even small lesions.
Make sure you shower after you’ve been swimming; to rehydrate your skin use the ZO Daily Power Defense to boost your skin’s function. Keep skin clean and drink plenty of water. Keep your skin in great shape by using ZO Body Emotion to help eczema, psoriasis and particularly dry skin.
What about high-intensity interval training. Is ‘Runner Face’ a thing?
The effects of your regime on your body can also be down to the type of workout that you do, for example continuous high-impact training can promote sagging of the skin and loss of volume, hence, “runner face”. If you are a lover of weight training, cycling or anything else where your hands play a important role this can leave you with dry, hard and cracked hands, which are often very painful, it’s therefore important to invest in skincare.
Can rubbing your face with a sweat towel make your skin worse? Is there a better method to use?
Sweat towels can harbour a lot of bacteria especially if that towel comes into contact with gym equipment, it can easily spread bacteria leading to acne and nasty skin infections by rubbing it on your face. Towels washed in harsh detergents will also make your acne worse.
When exercising try to refrain from constantly drying your face and let the sweat evaporate on its own then shower when you get home. If you can’t live without a gym towel use a microfiber towel as these are dirt resistant and absorb water quick. Whatever you choose to use ensure it is washed in a fragrance-free, eco laundry detergent.
Should you always remove your make up before working out and why?
It’s advisable to remove makeup before working out as cosmetics will mix with the oil and perspiration from your skin, congesting the skin and preventing the pores from being able to release sweat – leading to break outs, black heads and can cause skin irritation.
Is it better for your skin to have a hot or cold shower after a workout?
Cold water is very beneficial after any exercise as it helps to prevent any swelling from the workout. It also helps to reduce your heart rate and increase your circulation which will help you to recover faster. Cold showers can also help to relieve muscle soreness after a strenuous workout.
Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma
Hettie is the editor and co-founder of DOSE. A keen runner, she’s also partial to a blast of high-intensity and hot yoga. A country girl at heart, she divides her time between London and the lush rolling hills of North Devon. When she’s not jetting off on her next adventure, Hettie can be found in a candle-lit alcove with a laptop, a spaniel and a full bodied Malbec.