Unless you live under a rock in a galaxy far, far away, you’ve made a New Year’s resolution at some point in your life – and you’re not alone. Last year, an estimated 44 percent of Americans made a resolution, and, no surprise, fitness-, health- and weight loss-related goals accounted for 3 of the top 5 most common ones. What do these 40 million Americans have in common? They’re going to need to exercise to achieve their goals. Exercise, in itself, is a really good thing. But all the stuff that comes with exercise may be a really bad thing for your skin. So while you’re TCB at the gym, don’t forget to give your skin some TLC with these tips.
Wash Your Face
Ladies: Everyone looks like a miserable sweaty beast while exercising. Those who don’t are magical unicorns that probably subsist on rainbows and morning dew. For the non-unicorn folk, removing makeup before exercise is an important part of clear, healthy skin. When you work out, your sweat mixes with dirt and bacteria on the skin. Makeup creates a barrier that gives this sludge nowhere to go but back into your pores – causing blemishes and breakouts. Before you hit the treadmill, wash your face or use a makeup removal cloth.
Trading the treadmill for pavement? Don’t forget to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation. “If you’re planning on spending any time outside, you should be wearing sunscreen,” says Dr. J. Mark Jackson, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Louisville. “But when you’re going for a run or working up a sweat, your regular moisturizing sunscreen won’t cut it. Find a sunblock that is waterproof and sweat-proof and apply it an hour before going outside. This allows it to soak into your skin so it won’t wear off as easily or run into your eyes during exercise.”
Change It Up
Before you set foot in the gym, make sure your clothes are skin-friendly. Usually, moisture is your skin’s best friend, but when you’re breaking a sweat, it becomes too much of a good thing. “Some clothing that people tend to wear while exercising, while comfortable, actually prevents the skin from breathing,” says Dr. Jackson. All-cotton fabrics, for instance, absorb moisture and dry slowly. This breaks down your skin’s natural oil barrier, increasing the potential for irritation, breakouts, and chafing. Your best bet is to choose fast-drying or moisture-wicking fabrics to aide the evaporation process.” And, once your workout is over, resist the urge to figuratively and literally rest on your laurels by changing out of that sweaty workout gear. When you lounge in damp, soiled clothes, it gives dirt and bacteria nowhere to go except back into pores, again, causing breakouts.
Wash Your Face (and the Rest of You, Too)
While you’re in “getting undressed” mode, why not hop into the shower. Not only is it a refreshing wrap to your workout, it’s essential to keeping your skin clear and healthy. Wash away the dirt and muck your sweat has so generously flushed out with a moisturizing body wash and a gentle face wash.
Stay Hydrated Inside and Out
While drinking plenty of water is an important part of working out, don’t forget to give your skin some hydration, too. After showering, take some time to moisturize from head to toe. It’s good policy to moisturize within 3 minutes after bathing to help replace the natural oils that keep your skin soft and supple. And, during those winter months, opt for a heavier cream or balm to protect from the harsh, dry weather.
Regardless of whether your 2016 goals involve running a marathon or watching a television marathon, resolve to make healthy skin a part of your new year with help from the experts at Forefront Dermatology. To find the Forefront physician nearest you, visit the Locations page today.