Is Working Out Bad for Your Skin?

While we all know that working out is a great way to keep in shape and stay healthy, could some of your regular habits actually be bad for your skin? We turned to Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, and celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville, for five tips on what you should be doing before, during and after the gym to keep your skin looking its best.

Remove Your Makeup Before Working Out
Squeezing in a workout is hard enough as it is, so when you’re running from work to the gym, the makeup you have on isn’t always taken into consideration. Dr. Downie says, “It’s important to take off all of your makeup before hitting the gym. It’s OK if you want to keep your mascara on though.” Dirt and bacteria can get trapped underneath your makeup, so starting off with a fresh face is an essential step, which “allows you to work up a clean sweat,” adds Somerville.

Don’t Forget Your Sunblock
Moving your workout outside is a great way to add variety to your routine, however, it’s important to remember the harmful effects that the sun’s rays can have on your skin. “If you plan to workout outdoors, remember to apply a broad-spectrum SPF. Many of my clients forget to apply sunblock to their neck and chest areas, but it’s so vital to protect the delicate skin there,” says Somerville. Look for sunblocks that have an SPF of 30 or more, and if you are going to be out for long periods of time, don’t forget to reapply.

Do Not Touch Your Face
Avoid touching your face during your workout, as you can transfer bacteria from the gym equipment to your skin. Somerville says to bring your own towel and yoga mat if you can in order to avoid any germ contamination and potential staph infections. 

Stay Hydrated
Sweating is a natural part of working out, but the body loses water while doing so. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are replacing what's been lost. Somerville recommends staying hydrated internally by increasing your water intake and eating water-rich organic fruits and vegetables. "The added hydration will translate to healthy-looking skin,” she says. Looking for a hydrating, post-workout snack? Try cucumbers, celery, strawberries or watermelon.

Wash Your Face When You’re Done
You’ve finished your workout and you’re feeling amazing! “Don’t forget to wash your face again to clean off any sweat or bacteria that have accumulated during your workout," says Dr. Downie.