How to look after your skin post-workout – and avoid clogged pores

Exercise certainly offers positives for the skin, but it can have negative impacts, too
Exercise certainly offers positives for the skin, but it can have negative impacts, too

I was jolly lazy exercise-wise last year. I sped away from spinning, and as for ballet classes, I skipped off stage left. The upshot was my sofa clocked up plenty of strength training as it supported my backside. But now I’m back at the barre. Back on the cycle. And sweating like the proverbial. Which has had me polishing my halo, as well as massaging muscle gel into my hurty bits.

As for my skin, I know exercise can do it a power of good by boosting circulation (which supplies it with oxygen and nutrients) and helping to reduce stress and improve sleep, which in turn can benefit your complexion. Hence, the sweat on my brow has been feeling good, so after classes I’ve been leaving my face to bask in the post-workout glow.

Wrong move, says Victoria Barnes, fitness fan and co-founder of Skin Wrkout, a new brand dedicated to caring for skin pre- and post-workout. ‘Exercise certainly offers positives for the skin, but it can have negative impacts, too. Raised temperatures and sweating can induce redness, irritation and clogged pores, while bacteria from unhygienic equipment may contribute to the formation of blemishes,’ she says.

Barnes advocates prepping and protecting skin before sessions, cleaning away stale make-up, residual impurities and excess oil, which, when mixed with sweat, might clog pores.

The brand’s Pre-Wrkout Micellar Master Cleansing Water lifts dirt, while helping to reduce inflammation. Another great option is La Roche-Posay Sensitive Micellar Water, a fresh, one-step cleanser and make-up remover, with no rinsing or rubbing required.

That doesn’t mean make-up is a total no-no (Barnes wears a touch of mascara and fills in her brows). It’s also OK to apply a complexion enhancer if you want that hit of confidence, provided you start with a clean slate. And unless you’re working out in a darkened studio, SPF is vital – apply liberally and reapply regularly. I love RMS SuperNatural Radiance Tinted Serum SPF30 (£51, rmsbeauty.com) for its natural-but-better finish.

skincare
skincare

Pre-Wrkout Micellar Master Cleansing Water, £33.99; RMS SuperNatural Radiance Tinted Serum SPF30,£51; La Roche-Posay Sensitive Micellar Water, from £12, Boots

Other things to bear in mind are to pull your hair back (and if you have long hair, up off your neck) to prevent oils from your hair and haircare products transferring to your skin. It’s also best to wipe down equipment that will be in contact with your face, such as headphones, and avoid touching your face when you’re using gym equipment.

Immediate post-workout cleansing is essential to remove the sweat before it makes itself at home. If you shower at the gym, a foaming formulation, such as Ilia’s The Cleanse, is a good option as it offers a water-powered fast clean.

skincare
skincare

Skin Wrkout’s Purifying Pump Toner, £31.99; Ilia’s The Cleanse, from £21; Skin Wrkout Ginkgo HIIT Gel Booster, £31.99

But if you’re using a wipe-off cleanser, especially if you have combination or oily skin, following up with a toner really pays dividends. Skin Wrkout’s Purifying Pump Toner contains salicylic acid to decongest and cucumber extract that will help your complexion cool down.

To put your complexion in the recovery position, try Skin Wrkout Ginkgo HIIT Gel Booster, flooding it with antioxidants and ginkgo biloba, which is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

Bear in mind, just as you need to hydrate your body by drinking water, your skin needs a good drink too. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum is designed to be used under moisturiser. It’s formulated with two per cent multi-molecular hyaluronic acid, a powerful moisture-binding ingredient that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Now that’s what I call punching.

inkey
inkey

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum, £9

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