Your Guide on How to Exercise Without Aggravating Your Acne

Your Guide on How to Exercise Without Aggravating Your Acne
There's no doubt that exercise is essential for good health - from weight loss to preventing cardiovascular disease, it's one of the best things we can do for our bodies. However, working out may not have such a great impact on acne prone skin.

Sweat has a tendency to attract dirt and debris that can clog pores and set the stage for an acne breakout, and obviously you'll be doing a lot of sweating as you exercise. However, if you're smart you can continue to reap the benefits of physical activity without doing damage to your skin. Here are some tips to remember before and during your workout, as well as simple post-workout routine that will nourish and replenish your skin after all that hard work.

Before You Work Out

  • Always be sure to remove your makeup before you work out. Unless you're using noncomedogenic products, your makeup is already clogging your pores, so to add sweat on top of all of that will really spell trouble. No one is worried about how you look at the gym, so a little time without makeup to give your skin a break won't hurt anything.
  • If you're going to be exercising outside, be sure to protect your skin from the sun. Sunburns and tans dry out your skin and can lead to inflammation, which is known to make acne breakouts worse, so play it safe. In addition to this, they can also give your skin premature signs of aging. Choose a sunscreen that works with your skin type, and add some extra protection like a hat or sunglasses, if possible.
  • If you're going to be working out in a gym, be sure the exercise equipment you're using is clean. Sweat and other residue can be left over from previous patrons, and exposure to these contaminants can potentially transmit them to your skin, which can lead to worse breakouts or the start of a new one. Most gyms have their staff thoroughly clean the equipment between uses, but you can always carry along a pack of anti-bacterial wipes if you're especially worried about this.

During Your Workout

  • Resist the temptation to wipe sweat from your face with your hands! This can easily transfer contaminants that your hands have come into contact with, which can then potentially clog the pores on your face. Instead, carry a clean towel and use it to wipe up sweat.


After Your Workout

  • Immediately after your workout, use your towel to get rid of any leftover sweat. If the towel you used during the workout is particularly dirty, you may even want to switch to another new one - dirty towels are a breeding ground for bacteria that can spur on an acne breakout.
  • After toweling off, aim to take a shower as soon as possible-especially if you struggle with body acne. Even though you may have eliminated most of the sweat, there's still going to be a lot on your clothing that can attract dirt and debris which can potentially clog your pores even more. It's true that water by itself can strip your skin of essential oils (which may then be overproduced by your body and cause more clogged pores), but after a workout, think of it as a necessary evil. Cool water won't harm your skin as much as warm water, so make it as cold as you can stand.
  • After your shower, you'll want to make up for all the damage your skin has had to endure. Applying a moisturizer at this point is probably a good idea, even if you normally have oily skin-since the workout and subsequent shower has likely stripped your skin of its essential oils. Choose a noncomedogenic moisturizer that won't make your clogged pore problems any worse than they already are. If possible, you can even use something all-natural like a dab of olive or coconut oil.
  • You may exfoliate your skin from time to time, but not too often-no more than once a week. Exfoliation can be an abrasive experience for your skin and can cause irritation or inflammation that leads to worsening acne problems.

Final Thought + Bonus Tip

You need to remember that intense exercise, especially cardio and weights, raise testosterone production and respectively its level in the blood for both men and women. We also know that testosterone that belongs to the sex hormones (androgens) is one of the strongest stimulators of sebaceous glands secretion. This stimulation may lead to over production of sebum, and the cycle of acne begins.

So, everything is good in moderation. If you suffer from severe acne, you may chose to exercise 3- 4 times a week, not 6-7 times. Also you may try to exchange one day of pure cardio or weights and do Pilates or yoga that provide strength and flexibility training without the same androgens inducement.

With a Promise of Clear Skin,
Dr. A 

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