Although exercise is technically good for our skin, it’s common for workout newbies or veterans to see more acne on their faces after an intense workout. Exercise can often create the perfect conditions for acne-causing bacteria to thrive, so you’ll need to be vigilant to prevent a flare-up.
Does Sweat Cause Acne?
According to dermatologists, sweat in itself doesn’t cause acne, but it can exacerbate pre-existing skin issues. Acne is either caused by hormones or clogged pores, but sweat doesn’t contain sebum and, therefore, can’t increase acne production specifically.
However, sweat may cause dirt and oil to stick to your skin, which will clog your pores if you already have acne-prone skin. Thankfully, preventing post-workout acne is entirely doable.
How to Prevent Post-Workout Acne
After an intense CrossFit routine, the last thing you want to experience is an even more intense breakout. Use the following tips to prevent clogged pores before and after your workout.
Step 1: Adopt a Morning Skincare Routine
After an 8 hour sleep, your face has built up excess dead skin, which creates more sebum. By washing your face with a cleanser and an acne treatment available through an online dermatologist, like Nava MD, you’ll remove most of the dirt that could seep into your skin.
Step 2: Remove All Makeup Before Working Out
If you work out in the morning, this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re going to the gym directly from work or school, make sure to wash your face. During exercise, the increased blood flow causes the pores to open, meaning all of your makeup will seep right into your skin and pores.
Step 3: Pull Your Hair Back Away From Your Face
The natural oils in your hair and any products you use on your follicles will transfer to your skin. Not only will this cause redness and irritation, but your sweaty hair could cause a fungal-based breakout. If your hair is long, pull it up on your head into a bun, so it can’t rub against you.
Step 4: Wear Gloves and/or Avoid Touching Your Face
With a fast-paced workout routine like CrossFit, you won’t be able to wash off the equipment immediately before you use it. If that’s the case, wear moisture-wicking gloves and wash them after each use. Don’t touch your face while working out to avoid clogging your pores.
Step 5: Wear Moisture Wicking Clothing
Whether you’re wearing gloves or not, it’s ideal to wear moisture-wicking clothing on the rest of your body. Sweaty, tight clothing can create acne flare-ups and yeast overgrowths on your skin. However, moisture-wicking clothing will prevent sweat and mildew from sitting on your body.
Step 6: Shower Immediately After a Workout
It’s good practice to take off your clothing as soon as possible. If your gym has a shower that you’re comfortable using, take the opportunity to remove the oil, sweat, and dirt on your skin. Use a cleanser or micellar water to remove bacteria before or after entering the shower.
Step 7: Use an Over-the-Counter Retinoid
Retinoids have vitamin A, which helps reverse wrinkles and treats acne. What’s more, retinoids decrease inflammation and increase skin cell turnover, leading to an even complexion. If you’ve never used a retinoid before, start at 1% because it has a tendency to dry out your skin.
Step 8: See a Dermatologist if All Else Fails
Sometimes acne persists no matter what you do. As stated, you could have bacterial or fungal acne, which can’t be treated with self-care measures. You may also suffer from excessive sweating, which may make acne-prone skin more sensitive to cystic or insistent breakouts.