You’re always rushing: rushing to work, rushing to meetings, rushing to eat. Oh, and then there’s exercise. Early mornings and late nights aren’t always an option because of your family obligations, so you do a quick 30-minute workout during lunch or right after work.
As for removing your makeup? You could, but that would eat up at least five precious minutes so you leave it on and wipe it away with all of the sweat during your circuits. And if you’re like me, you look down at the smudges of foundation, mascara and blush on your towel and wonder just what it’s doing to your skin. It sounds like the perfect environment to create a breakout, but is it really?
“Makeup clogs up the pores,” says Dale Isaacson, M.D., dermatologist with DC Derm Docs in Washington D.C. “Not everybody will breakout. However if you are prone to acne it will frequently aggravate it.”
The reason: Your pores secrete sebum — or sweat — constantly. This sebum mixes with makeup, dirt, and other pollutants, which creates a blockage. This turns to inflammation that leads to the redness, irritation, and pus-filled bumps we know as pimples.
The Pre-Workout Skincare Regimen You Should Follow
In a perfect world, you’d wash your face with a gentle cleanser and water, then follow with a toner right before you start your workout, according to Debra Jaliman, M.D., dermatologist and creator of Sea Radiance. “If you can’t wash your face before working out, at least take a toner and wipe your skin,” she advises.
Pre-treated cleansing cloths, like Neutrogena Deep Clean Makeup Remover Wipes, also work in a pinch and fit easily into your gym bag without the risk of spilling all over your expensive gear. You don’t have to put on moisturizer, but if you do, Dr. Jaliman recommends picking a light one with non-comedogenic on the label.
What to Do Immediately After Working Out
You might feel energized and satisfied after your workout, but that doesn’t mean your skin is happy. Sweat sticks around on your face afterward, even if you don’t feel it. This, as you might expect, can also lead to breakouts if you don’t wash it off afterward.
Your post-workout skincare regimen — with or without makeup — should be pretty similar to that of your pre-workout ritual: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, tone, and then slather on some non-comedogenic moisturizer and sunscreen. If that’s not an option, wipe a cleansing cloth all over your face and neck to wipe away sweat until you can.
The Best Makeup Options for Your Workout
No makeup is best, but if you do wear it Dr. Jaliman recommends sticking to lighter versions of your favorites, like BB cream or tinted moisturizer. Also, look for certain clues on the labels on your favorite brands.
“Make sure your makeup doesn’t contain silicone because it can block pores and make it more likely to break out or get bumpy skin,” she adds. You can also go for makeup with salicylic acid or antimicrobial peptides; these actively work to keep breakouts at bay. Makeup formulated with chamomile and aloe also soothe skin irritated by clogged pores.