After a good workout I always feel rejuvenated, healthy, fit, and ready to conquer any new obstacle the day might throw at me! It’s such a rush of power and confidence to know you just challenged your body and went beyond what you thought was your limit. However, as we all know, nothing great has ever been accomplished without a little sweat… And the acne your sweat action leaves isn’t so great to deal with. At all.
Glamour Beauty recently wrote about “acne mechanica.” This is acne caused by the pressure or rubbing of sport equipment and clothing on the skin. Sport equipment, such as helmets, gloves, etc. that sit directly against the skin can carry bacteria that will irritate your skin as pores open and sweating begins. To fight this, Dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe suggests using a disinfectant spray on gear right before use.
With this, in addition to all of the sweat pouring down your forehead, neck, chest, and back, it is no wonder we find ourselves stuck dealing with acne. Dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, M.D. explains that acne which appears as a direct result of sweating is actually caused by yeast, not bacteria! Sweat glands become clogged, and this is where those pesky, bright, little red bumps come from. To read up more on the details, you can check out the article here. In the meantime, here are some steps you can start taking to get that exercise induced acne under control!:
Use special cleanser
Make sure that your facial (and even body) cleanser contains salicylic acid. This is anti-inflammatory and will help to clean up yeast. For bacteria killing power, use spot treatments or masks containing benzoyl peroxide (or sulfur).
Wash up ASAP after a workout.
Seems like this is a given – but seriously the sooner the better. The longer dirty sweat and sweaty clothes linger against your skin, the more vulnerable it will be to breakouts – especially since your pores and sweat glands have opened up during your workout. *If you know it will be a little while before you are able to hit the shower, use a cleansing wipe on your face, neck, or other problem area right after your workout to at least clean it up a bit!
Fabric IS important
Shirts or sports bras made out of fabrics such as cotton will trap moisture and leave it to sit against your skin. Sweat-wicking clothing will work to pull the majority of sweat away from the skin and reduce irritation that may occur during your actual workout. If you aren’t already taking care of your skin during your workout, it might be too late after.
Clean your equipment
Those towels and disinfectant sprays that the gym has sitting out aren’t only for cleaning up after yourself – use them before you start at your next station as well. (think about it – how many times have you forgotten to wipe equipment down after using it, leaving it dirty for the next person? … Yeah. You aren’t the only one who forgets.) Not only should you pre-spray the gear that you will be wearing, but a quick wipe down on at least the handles of any free weights, machines, or other equipment you will be using is a safe practice as well.
Feel confident leaving the gym with glowing skin that reflects the amazing workout you just had!