Post-Workout Skincare: 9 Tips for Clean and Clear Skin

A dermatologists weighs in on how to care for your skin after exercising

The list of health and fitness benefits associated with exercise is seemingly endless. Among other positive effects, you likely already know that working out on a regular basis helps to keep your weight in check, your blood sugar levels stable and to improve your mood.

But one advantage of exercise that isn’t touted quite as commonly is its ability to improve the quality of your skin.

Dr. Susan Stuart, a La Jolla, California board certified dermatologist and co-founder of La Jolla plastic surgery and dermatology says that when you work up a sweat you release toxins from your skin..

However, she also warns that the benefits might be lost if  you don’t make time to properly care for your skin after hitting the gym.

To help you make sure that your skin will stay healthy and blemish-free, she offers the following post-gym skincare tips.

1. Use body wipes.
Stuart suggests investing in disposable body wipes (like Action Wipes) that you can use to wipe down your skin right after a workout. “This will help in removing excess oil from your skin,” she said.

2. Always work out with a towel...
...For the obvious reason of wiping away excess sweat.

3. Don’t touch your face.
Especially after spending time at the gym, your hands are covered with germs and bacteria. Stuart highly suggests making a habit of keeping them away from face in order to avoid infections and acne.

4. Treat your feet.
If needed, Stuart also suggests using a foot deodorizer. “It’s a great way to clean your feet after a heavy workout,” she said.

5. Don’t head to a tanning bed.
Turns out those Jersey Shore kids had it all wrong. GTL (gym, tan, laundry) is not the best order for carrying out your errands. “The first step in after gym skin care is to skip the tanner,” says Stuart. “It’s harmful to your skin, in so many ways. There’s also the range of cosmetic skin concerns, like wrinkles and sun spots, so skip the tanning bed!”

6. Limit shower time.
“Your muscles are sore, and you’re exhausted,” says Stuart. “But resist the urge to spend the next half-hour in the hot shower. It may soothe your muscles, but it will also strip your skin of vital oils, leaving you dry, itchy and unhappy.”

7. Tame your mane.
Stuart advises that you keep your hair away from your face, both during and after exercise. This will help prevent oils from clogging your pores, which can cause breakouts. “Toss on a cotton scarf before you begin your workout and you’ll avoid fighting with your skin post-workout,” she said.

8. Rehydrate.
Stuart says that after working out it’s important to replenish the natural moisture and oils that have been removed from your skin. “When it comes to your face, you really should invest in a high quality, fast-absorbing, nutrient-rich product that includes vitamins A and E and the super-ingredient hyaluronic acid,” she said. “Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring compound that is expert at restoring moisture to your skin and has also been shown to stimulate collagen production.  If you’ve been exercising outdoors, a moisturizer with anti-oxidant ingredients is important to help repair damage caused by UV exposure and other environmental factors.”

9.  Ditch your makeup.
“Skip out on applying your makeup for the gym,” says Stuart. “You want your skin to be able to breathe while you’re working out or else you’ll end up with majorly clogged pores. If you must, try putting on a tinted moisturizer rather than all those heavy products.”