Skin Care and Exercise: Pre-workout Routine

Do you ever feel like the exercise you do to make your body healthy just winds up making your skin break out and look bad? Us too! You might feel like it’s a no-win situation, but you’re wrong. And to prove so, we chatted with Celeste Hilling, CEO of Skin Authority, one of my favorite skin care lines.

Celeste’s skin always looks amazing, and you can tell by those arms that she takes time to work out even though she’s busy running a hugely successful skin care line. Read pre-workout routine tips below.

pre-workout routine
Pre-workout routine. Skin Care and Exercise: Pre and Post Workout Tips

Here are some of Celeste’s skin care tips, pre, and post-workout.

Pre-Workout Routine:

Outdoor Workout: Your skin care prep depends on your workout. If you’ll be running or sweating outdoors in a dry climate, apply a topical Vitamin C under your sunscreen. Vitamin C is a co-factor in the production of collagen for firmer, tighter skin. It also boosts UV absorption when worn under sunscreen. You’ll want to add plenty of moisture to make up for the hydration you will lose by sweating. Look for multi-purpose moisturizing sunscreens, natural facial oils, and consider checking out Essential Skin Food review for more product suggestions. Don’t forget to wear a lip balm and keep sunglasses on so you don’t squint.

Indoor Workout: Bacteria and germs abound in a gym setting. Because you touch equipment, weights, and mats used by others, bacteria can be transferred from your hands to your face, chest, and back causing breakouts. Always clean with an antibacterial cleanser (3% glycolic is my choice) after working out to remove germs. And remember to wipe surfaces of equipment with antibacterial wipes before use.

Swimming: If you are swimming, it’s important to put on a moisture-barrier before jumping in because chlorine really dries out the skin. Look for lotions that include shea butter and olive oil.

Extra tip: Sweat can cause oil and dirt to collect on the skin resulting in irritation and chafing as well as breakouts in areas where sweat “pools” such as hairline, chest, back, stomach. Apply a toner on skin before the workout to help minimize oil and dry the skin surface. Sweat can also cause hair product to “travel” onto face, so it is important to not use gels or leave-in hair products prior to a workout. If you do, pull hair back from the face or wear a sweatband.

Post Workout Skin Care

After Your Workout: Definitely shower and exfoliate from head to toe to remove dead skin layers. Apply a rich moisturizer to put the nutrients back in your body. Natural options are shea butter and olive oil. I also love to use topicals, including Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a key hormone needed for strong immune function. Apply a topical Vitamin D serum daily under sunscreen to give the skin a daily dose of D. And, of course, apply sun protection before heading out the door!

Thanks, Celeste!

Here are a few more skin tips I like to remember when I’m working out.

SPF is mandatory when you’re exercising outside. Look for a water-resistant sunscreen and be diligent on the time it is water-resistant. You have your options of 40 to 80 minutes, so if you’re taking an hour class or run, make sure to pick the 80 minute. SPF 30+ is what we always recommend.

Change out of your clothes right away. Depending on how close you live from your gym, this might mean before you even leave the gym. (My gym is a mile away, so I change as soon as I get home.) It’s important to get out of the sweaty clothes and sports bras which trap in sweat and dead skin cells, which can lead to body acne.

Shower post workout. As Celeste noted, showering right after your workout will make a big difference if you tend to be prone to skin irritations due to exercising.

Start with a fresh, clean face. It might be so tempting to quick change into some clothes and head to class with your face full of makeup, but that is a recipe for breakouts, period. And honestly, don’t we all know *that person* in the gym who looks ridiculous with her heavy foundation on? Don’t be that person – stick some facial cleansing cloths in your gym bag and remove that makeup.

Drink Water! There are experts who argue on either side of the, “does drinking water benefit my skin”, topic, but when you exercise, you sweat. Sweating dehydrates you, drinking water re-hydrates you. Dehydrated skin is prone to fine lines and wrinkles, so even if there is a small chance it helps, go for it. It has obvious benefits to your body, anyway!


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