7 Tips for Protecting Your Skin While Working Out

woman working out

It is no secret that regular exercise is good for your health. Every system of your body benefits from exercise, no matter if you choose to walk, run, perform aerobics, lift weights, dance or anything else you can imagine.

While the benefits should be enough to convince you to get on a regular exercise routine, there are still some important considerations regarding your skin.

By taking a few steps before, during and after your workout, you can ensure that your skin stays clear and healthy. Dr. Straughn of Buckhead Dermatology in Atlanta shares her top 7 tips to protect your skin while working out.

If you are having skin troubles such as breakouts or hyperpigmentation, give Dr. Straughn’s office a call to set up an appointment. With over 25 years of experience, our board-certified Atlanta dermatologist can help you get to the root of your skin issues and begin an effective treatment plan.

Protect your skin from the sun.  

If you will be exercising outdoors, do not forget to apply sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and apply it to any exposed areas of skin. Do not skip the sunscreen on cloudy days! Harmful rays can still penetrate your skin, causing sunburn and skin damage.

Try to exercise in the morning or evenings when the sun is not at its peak. If you must exercise on your lunch break, apply sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing like long sleeves and a hat. Excessive sweating can remove sunscreen, making you less protected. If you will be exercising for long periods of time, be sure to reapply sunscreen regularly. 

Wear minimal makeup. 

Wearing heavy foundation or other face makeup while exercising could contribute to clogged pores. A pimple forms when a pore becomes clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum. While exercising, your body naturally heats up and moistens with sweat. These conditions can enlarge your pores temporarily. If you are wearing face makeup while your pores are enlarged, there’s a greater chance that the pores will become clogged and reveal a pimple. If possible, remove all face makeup prior to your workout.

Keep your hair back.  

Hair products such as oils, gels and hairsprays may work wonders for your hair, but can wreak havoc on your skin. Chemicals in these products can cause breakouts when they contact the skin on your face and neck.

Secure your hair in a ponytail or wear a headband or sweatband to keep your hair out of your face. Not only will this keep hair products off of your skin, it will prevent you from touching your face to wipe away sweat. 

Avoid tight-fitting clothing.  

Tight-fitting workout clothing can trap dirt, sweat and heat close to the skin. These factors frequently result in skin irritations such as acne, rashes or chafing. While working out, choose breathable fabrics that remove sweat from the skin. Avoid tight-fitting garments and instead opt for loose-fitting shirts and shorts.

Change your clothing quickly. 

While it may be tempting to sit and relax after a hard workout, it is important that you change out of sweaty clothing quickly. Wearing sweaty clothing for extended periods of time can keep moisture close to the skin and increase your chances of developing a fungal infection. Change your clothes and shower quickly after your workout to remove moisture and bacteria that could cause skin irritations.

Wash your face. 

The skin on your face comes in contact with many skin care products, hair products and your hands. All of these factors could introduce bacteria that cause rashes, infections or breakouts. It is a good idea to avoid touching your face during workouts and to wash your hands regularly. Post workout, one of the first things to do is wash your face. This will remove excess sweat and dirt.

Keep your body cool. 

Keeping your body cool can be a challenge during a strenuous workout. If possible, avoid working out in the heat of the day or in a warm gym. Increases in body temperature can cause you to become overheated, which can result in a flare-up of certain conditions like rosacea and eczema.