The benefits of a good workout are legion. From the soul glow to the body pump, you emerge feeling like the best version of yourself. But if you aren’t mindful of your skin, you may realize that when the post-workout glow fades, your face and frame are now host to a squadron of blemishes.
No need to mince words — a bout of acne can leave you feeling pretty shitty, basically the exact opposite of that on-top-of-the-world glory that washes over you after a balling workout.
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There’s good news, though. You can keep on basking in that workout high without eventually sinking into the acne blues. You just need to make a few adjustments. And we’re here to guide you on the way. Step one is acquiring a little skincare knowledge. Step two is all about prep, knowing a thing or two about gym bag essentials for men.
Now let’s suit up and dip into it because we don’t want breakouts marring your exercise bliss any longer.
A Little Work Before Your Workout
One of the surest ways to prevent post-workout breakouts is to get yourself ready for action on the front end. It doesn’t take much, but these moves can go a long way toward eliminating the problem.
For starters, if you happen to be wearing makeup or an oily moisturizer on your face (which you really shouldn’t be using in the first place), it’s a good idea to wash your mug before working out — gunk paired with sweat is a pretty solid recipe for pore blockages.
And if you’re going to be working out in the sun, apply sunscreen (oil-free for your mug) on any part of your body exposed to the rays. Everyone knows that the sun can brutalize your skin in a myriad of ways, breakouts included. The sun dries you out and dry skin doubles down on sebum production. Lots of sebum can mean lots of breakouts.
Clothing Choices Matter
Now let’s take a look at what you’re wearing.
If you have regular bouts with body acne, it might be a result of the gear you’re rocking. We shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you should always work out in clean garb. Perhaps you’re tempted to stuff gym clothes in your bag and rock them for a couple of workouts between washings, but know that workout clothes are quick to gather bacteria — from your body and whatever nastiness you’re picking up at the gym.
When you’re exercising, your clothes rub against your skin, the friction potentially irritating your derm. And when you’re grinding a bacteria-rich piece of fabric into your irritated skin, you’re creating an ideal environment for body acne to flourish.
If you have sensitive skin that’s especially prone to acne, form-fitting, sweat-absorbing workout gear might bring on breakouts, even if it’s oh-so-clean. That sound like you? Well, you may need to ditch that tight stuff and rock some old-school, loose-fitting cotton instead. Your skin will thank you.
Think About What You’re Touching
You know those disinfectant sprays ALL OVER THE PLACE at your gym? Use them. They are there for a reason: Gyms are kinda gross. You should wipe down machines before you use them. You should also be a good guy and wipe them down when you wrap. It’s just some basic gym etiquette, people.
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And, please, don’t mindlessly touch your face when you’re at the gym. We don’t want to get you too freaked about gym germs, but we don’t want to deny reality either. The fact is, even if you’re wiping down machines, your hands are collecting more than enough bacteria to set off an acne explosion.
Use hand sanitizer when you can. And if you’re pondering whether you want to throw on added weight for the last set, just don’t stroke your chin while you think it through.
Don’t Marinate in the Post-Workout Funk
After your workout, you need to get out of those sweaty clothes ASAP. Again, your exercise garb can irritate the surface of your skin, and when you couple that with the grit and grime your skin accrues while you sweat, there’s ample opportunity for breakouts to blossom.
Just get out of those nasty clothes.
All right — you’re disrobed, sweaty garb balled up on the floor or whatever. What next? You can probably guess. It’s time to hop in the shower. You might be tempted to go with a piping hot shower to soothe those aching bones, but lukewarm is actually best for your skin. For your mug, you need a proper face wash — no bar soap here — but the same applies to your body. Get a salicylic-acid-infused charcoal body wash, and for crying out loud, man, don’t defeat the purpose by applying the body wash with that nasty-ass, bacteria-laden loofah dangling in your shower. Get an antimicrobial, dead-skin-cell-repelling silicone body scrubber.
It’s critical that you shower with the right tools. But cleaning your face and frame right after a good workout is just as important.
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If you take these measures, you’ll see a drastic reduction in post-workout blemishes. All it takes is a little extra effort to keep your skin looking good.