We all want our bodies to look lean and strong, so we hit the gym hard, but those sweat-inducing workouts can sometimes wreak havoc on our skin. Renee Rouleau, Esthetician and Skin Care Expert, gets it—as a CrossFit addict, she knows all about wanting to tone up without having to deal with embarrassing breakouts or runny sunscreen. So we asked her to answer some of your top workout-related skin-care Q’s.
In terms of skin health, how important is it to drink water before and after a workout?
“Since you lose so much water from perspiration, it’s crucial to replace it by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after workouts. The electrolyte-replacing drinks are especially helpful for re-hydrating the body. From a skin-care standpoint, research concludes that drinking water is the least efficient way to hydrate the skin. Skin hydration levels have much more to do with what you are using topically on the skin. A product like the Renée Rouleau Skin Drink ($38, reneerouleau.com) helps hydrate the skin very well. Apply it post-workout to restore hydration.”
I like to wear a headband or a bandana to prevent sweat from dripping down my face, but will that cause breakouts?
“I wouldn’t recommend headbands, bandanas or even hats across the forehead as they can cause a build up of oil and perspiration in the pores which will result in little clogged bumps or acne. If your skin is not prone to breakouts, this may not be an issue for you. If you find that you’re getting clogged pores, try to keep your accessory further back on your hairline but not directly across the forehead.”
How bad is it to wear makeup to the gym?
“Eye makeup and lipstick are fine to wear. Should you really feel the need to wear foundation, try mineral-based powders as they are sweat-resistant, breathable and won’t clog pores. Either way, you want to clean the skin and remove oils and sweat post-workout.”
I like to remove all my makeup before a workout, but then my skin feels a little dry. Is applying a moisturizer before sweating OK?
“When you exercise, your skin loses water due to evaporation, leaving the skin dehydrated. Dehydrated skin increases surface lines and causes skin cells to die prematurely, leading to aging as well as dead skin cell build up and clogged pores. Using a lightweight moisturizer will help to retain the water in the skin. If you are exercising outdoors, it’s best to use a very light moisturizer with a sunscreen.”
I sometimes can’t shower immediately after the gym. Could that cause body acne?
“Showering immediately after a workout can definitely help keep your back clear. The people that are most likely to get back breakouts are the ones that produce excessive oil. Generally, those who have oily skin on their face will also have excessive oil production on the back as well. Since oil is a breeding ground for bacteria, one of the ways to reduce back breakouts is to shower often. Keeping the skin clean can make a huge difference. Exfoliate your back with a mild cleansing gel and exfoliating cloth three times a week and apply an anti-bacterial lotion to help keep your back clear.”
I always apply sunscreen but I sweat a lot. Do I just sweat my sunscreen right off? If so, how can I stay protected besides wearing a hat?
“Apply your sunscreen prior to working out so it has time to absorb fully. No sunscreen can withhold intense sweating so it’s important to reapply often. You can also apply a mineral powder with SPF over your sunscreen for added protection. Most mineral powders tend to be water-resistant so they will hold up better to sweating and therefore keep you protected better. Since one of the major contributing factors to the aging process is the production of free radicals caused from exercise, it’s very important to take antioxidants to minimize the damage. One simple way to help suppress the free radical activity is to take Vitamin C (500 mg) thirty minutes prior to exercise. It takes about thirty minutes to dissolve in your system and activate, so while you are exercising you’re sure to have full Vitamin C protection for the cells in your body.”