3 post-workout skincare tips that will prevent acne and redness

The post-workout endorphin rush is unlike any other feeling—the redness and itchiness that comes with it, not so enjoyable. If you’ve got plans for a video call or you’re stepping out for a meeting or social event right after exercising, you definitely need a game plan to soothe your skin. Dr Jamuna Pai, Mumbai-based cosmetic physician, author and founder, SkinLab, shares everything you need to know to nurse your skin back to health. Consider these tips to be part of the post workout stretches you simply must do, but for your skin.

Start with the most important skincare step: Cleansing

As always, the most important part of your skincare routine is to first start with cleansing your skin of all dirt and impurities, in this case, also sweat and possible bacteria from workout equipment. “The longer sweat is on your body and face, the higher the chances of it getting in your pores and attracting things like dead skin cells, fungal infection and bacteria. Take a shower with lukewarm water and use a mild shower gel and face wash,” says Dr Pai.

Some experts suggest double cleansing after working out. An oil cleanser can break down all the sweat and sunscreen, and then a gel or foam salicylic acid-based face wash can get rid of all of it for the deepest clean. Washing with tepid or cold water is best, as the temperature can help close the pores that were dilated thanks to sweat. Even if you feel the need to, stay away from harsh scrubs and treatments. “Post-workout skin is especially delicate and prone to micro abrasions, so using a gentle cleanser instead of a harsh exfoliant is a better option to refresh your skin. A cold towel compress post the wash will also have a soothing effect,” says Dr Pai.

A moisturizer is your best friend, before and after you workout

Moisturising your skin is key to keep it feeling calm while you sweat through, and to soothe the redness and itchiness that follows after. You might find your skin red—more than just a post-workout flush—because you’ve been sweating. The capillaries on the surface of your skin dilate, which brings more blood to the surface. Unless you have issues with rosacea, this is temporary. Anti-inflammatory and cooling ingredients in your moisturiser can help tamp this down. “Opt for a lightweight, water-based moisturiser formulated for your skin type. Post workout use a mild cleanser and apply a gentle, nourishing serum to help with redness and blemishes, and encourage a healthy glow. Don’t forget the sunblock if you’re stepping out in the day.”

The only way to avoid breakouts is to keep makeup at bay

Makeup is the enemy when combined with sweat and dirt—the perfect breeding ground for acne. “When it comes to working out, it’s better to remove your makeup before you head for your exercise. The sweat mixing with dirt, oils and makeup on your skin can clog pores, which is a prime cause of skin breaking out into acne. Going make up-free allows your skin to breathe. After your workout, spritz on a thermal spring water mist to keep your skin glowing and healthy.” If you simply must wear makeup, Dr Pai suggests picking light, mineral-based products to minimise clogging.

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