Exercising and skincare
Exercising Skincare: How to help your skin thrive during a workout, with Personal Trainer Annika Boron
Written by Carlyn
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Our skin, specifically the outermost layer called the ‘epidermis’, is a protective organism which constantly stands guard in the face of harmful bacteria, external toxins, and bad vibes. Working overtime, our skin takes care of us through the good, the bad, and the sweaty.
I’ve teamed up with my friend and personal trainer, Annika Boron, to hit you with some tips, tricks, and advice to make sure that your skin is thriving, even during a workout.
Like your skin, we’ve got you covered.
SKIN PREP: Before sh!t gets sweaty.
First things first, let’s talk about skin prep before a workout. When we sweat, sebum (oil) and dead skin cells leave through our pores. Wearing a layer of makeup can enforce clogged pores and could result in a pimple or other irritation. Removing your makeup before planning to sweat will help you avoid disrupting your ever-so-balanced skin ecosystem. So, I’d definitely advise throwing that makeup remover into your gym bag.
Annika’s Advice: I always make sure I’m not wearing makeup during my workouts. Sometimes I have sunscreen on and I just workout in that, but never makeup! A great product to throw in your bag is the Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm. It doubles as a makeup remover and cleanser (although at night I’d always do a double cleanse). After your exercise it’s super important to cleanse your skin right after (+ moisturizer + sunscreen of course). Sweat is great for the skin, but not if it’s left on your face for too long.
And for my peeps with long locks: using a hair tie or scrunchie to put your hair up will save you from sweat accumulating around your neck, back, and hairline. Heck – a sweatband may also be your new BFF. Get those hair oils, debris and sweat outttta here!
Annika’s Advice: Hair needs some love too! My number one tip is to just leave it alone and use as little heat as possible. I wash my hair 1-2 times a week using natural shampoo and conditioner (I’m currently using Briogeo moisturizing products because I have really thin and dry hair).
During workouts I use bigger scrunchies from Aritzia or Urban Outfitters, and the rest of the day I use 100% silk scrunches. Dry shampoo is my best friend – it may dry hair out a bit, but it allows me to be able to work out every day without washing my hair daily, which really strips the natural oils!
As always, skin prep includes applying spf. If your exercise is outdoors, this is a must. Our tip: avoid using a heavy and creamy sunscreen. My all-time fav is the SPF Spray from Clear Clinical because its thin, light, and is meant for people with acne. No clogged pores ova here!
DURING THE DEED: When you’re in the heat of it.
During your workout, you’re likely going to be touching many different items and tools including weights, yoga mats, exercise balls, and workout bands. Our friend Covid says that it should be no surprise that these exercise materials can be host to A LOT of bacteria and germs. Because of this, it’s important to avoid touching your face while mid-workout. This tip is easier said than done—but having your hair out of your face should help. Packing your fav hand sanitizer in your gym bag is also a good call, but doing a thorough handwash WITH soap afterwards is key.
Got a workout buddy? Agree to be the face-touching police to each other. When someone touches their face, they have to do 10 pushups. Or 100 lol. Make it burn.
Annika’s Advice: To keep my face clean during a workout, I generally use paper towel, so a dirty towel isn’t constantly on my face. I wash my hands before and after the gym and always avoid touching my face (this goes for always, not just at the gym!)
SKIN AFTERCARE: Congrats, you made it.
Once your workout is finished (Hallelujah!), skin aftercare is important. We suggest hopping into the shower ASAP to wash all the sweat, grime and debris away. If you can’t get to a shower right after, changing out of those sweaty gym clothes is a good start.
“Tight and wet clothing can suffocate your skin, which could lead to body acne or a flare-up of dermatitis. Warm and moist areas on the skin are also more likely to grow a type of yeast infection called Candida Albicans,” says Dr. Kellett, a Toronto dermatologist. Changing out of these clothes will help your skin breathe, allowing it to do its thaaang.
Using a gentle cleanser in the shower is also a huge move. I like to use a gentle exfoliator because it isn’t irritating and makes my skin feel helllla clean. The polishing gel cleanser by Clear Clinical has been my trusty partner. I like to use this cleanser on my chest, back and bum too!
Annika’s Advice: I love cold showers after a workout – it’s also great for your skin. Paula’s Choice has a great BHA body exfoliating cleanser that I use regularly to keep my body skin free of bumps. I also love hydrating cleansers for sensitive skin.
Don’t forget to use a clean towel to dry off, and pat/dab your face dry—aggressive rubbing with a towel can irritate and strip the skin. Ouch.
Finally, implementing moisturizing and hydrating skincare routine after you work out will help you avoid dry, tight skin. We suggest a gel-based moisturizer such as the Clear Clinical moisturizing gel, which has calming properties for inflammation. After exercising, my face is usually red as a tomato, so anti-inflammation is a must.
Annika’s Advice: A cold shower definitely helps with inflammation and redness. If you have dry skin like me, I love the Inkey List Peptide moisturizer. Oily skin or not, everyone needs to cleanse and moisturize after a workout. Keep in mind I don’t use any products with fragrance which also helps reduce inflammation and sensitivity.
And don’t forget to give some love to those calluses on your palms. A warm and soapy water soak will soften and clean those bad boys.
Annika’s Advice: I highly recommend lifting gloves! I know they can look weird haha, but you can find simple ones that are easy to throw in your gym bag. They help you focus less on holding the weight and more on the actual muscle group you’re working. Plus, you’ll avoid calluses completely!
So next time you hit the gym, remember your water bottle, a clean towel, hand sanitizer, and a hair tie!