Don’t sweat the skin stuff – taking care of your skin pre and post-exercise


Regular exercise keeps our bodies and minds fit and healthy. Boosting blood flow aids the elimination of toxins and waste, which can improve our skin health. We also know exercise is a great stress buster, which is good news for the skin. Phycological stress triggers a cascade of skin problems, from premature ageing, breakouts, and uneven skin tone. Plus, it improves collagen production, which means fewer wrinkles, and can even prevent inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis.

There’s a lot of skin benefits to be had from exercising. One caveat, though: it can cause or worsen breakouts.

The skin is our largest organ, and it’s one of elimination. Waste is flushed out from the body via sweat, which can clog pores and cause irritation. Bacteria also thrives in a sweaty environment – it’s a breeding ground for breakouts! If you’ve headed to the gym straight from work with a full face of make-up, beware, exercising wearing make-up can increase the likelihood of breakouts.

One of the health perks of exercise is an increase in metabolism. On the flip side, this boost in metabolism triggers a spike in the production of skin cells and oil - the perfect recipe for blackheads and breakouts.

Exercise supplements can be another red flag for the skin. The culprit is whey protein which is found in protein shakes and bars. It’s another catalyst for breakouts because it increases insulin levels in the skin, which, in turn, increases sebum production. If you do suffer from breakouts, then look for an alternative such as hemp or pea protein.

Using oil-based cleaners are ideal to remove post-workout sweat
Using oil-based cleaners are ideal to remove post-workout sweat

So, as many of us set fitness goals for the New Year, here’s our top hygiene tips so you don’t have to sweat the skin stuff:

  • Start and finish your workouts with clean skin. Oil based cleansers are ideal for removing the sweat, dirt, pollutants and bacteria from the skin as they have the power to cut through oil-based debris. Dermalogica’s PreCleanse Balm is ideal for cleansing on the go and will deep clean, soothe and hydrate, all in one! A quick and easy way to clean the skin out on the road, or if you don’t have access to water, is to use a wipe-off cleanser that doesn’t require any water for removal, such as Dermalogica’s UltraCalming Cleanser.
  • After your workout, have a cool shower, use cool facial towels, and drink cool water. All these steps help reduce the skin temperature and stop it purging.
  • Wait a few minutes until the skin has cooled down before applying your post-workout products so they can effectively absorb into the skin.
  • If the skin is prone to redness post a workout, apply a calming serum designed to bring down the redness.
  • Finish with a lightweight hydrating moisturiser - nothing too heavy or too active whilst the skin is hot, and the blood flow is increased.

Exfoliate regularly to manage the build-up of oil and dead skin. Salicylic Acid is a favourite for preventing and treating breakouts and congestion - it loves oil and gives the pores a thorough cleanout.

Looking for advice on what is perfect for your skin? Our team of dermalogica experts can help guide you to your healthiest skin possible. Complete our online skin consultation here and one of our team will begin the journey of amazing skin together.