As a NY State/Internationally licensed esthetician and consultant, gym related breakouts are a huge complaint I hear from my clients! Sweat spiked with hair care product residues along with bacteria, oil and cross-contamination from gym equipment all play a part - but it can be prevented:
1. Wear a headband
Wear a headband to keep sweat from coming down onto the face past the hairline. Hair conditioners, sprays, gels and dry shampoos are unsuitable for the face and can alter the pH of the skin and clog pores leading to breakouts.
2. Don't wipe your skin with just any old gym towel
Gym towels can be rough because they are washed and bleached so often. Do not aggressively wipe your face, neck or chest with them because they can increase redness, irritation and even create micro-tears on the skin! Opt for a soft microfiber cloth just for your face. This is especially important for people with sensitive skin and rosacea.
3. Avoid cross-contamination
Whatever you do, do not drape your towel on an unclean cardio machine handle and wipe your skin with it throughout your workout - better to drape your towel around your neck or a belt. Keep un-sanitized hands and yoga mats away from your skin as well.
4. Do not go to the gym right after a facial or any type of at-home peel or exfoliating treatment.
Leave your skin resurfacing treatments for after the gym! Going to a communal workout environment like a gym after a facial exposes your skin to microbes and the possibility of infections. Most facials gently remove the outermost layer of the epidermis called the stratum corneum and this means the defense barrier of your skin is temporarily compromised.
5. Wash your hands before you wash your face.
Many of my clients opt to do a quick face wash at the gym sink before leaving the gym, if they don't shower altogether. However, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap, before washing your face, to avoid getting gym germs on your visage.
So don't skip your workouts but do keep these tips in mind for healthy, glowing skin after the workout's over!