Exercise is beneficial to the body, but it may also cause some short term negative reactions. One of these is known as exercise-induced acne, which you can usually find popping up on your hairline, chest and back area, face or neck.
It usually happens on anywhere that is heavily drenched in sweat. If you are already acne-prone to begin with, constant sweating may end up intensifying acne lesions on the skin.
Causes of post-workout acne breakout
The best precaution to take in order to prevent any acne breakouts after exercise is to ensure proper hygiene. This means cleaning your skin not just after, but before the workout.
Dermatologists state that acne occurs when your sweat mingles with dead skin cells, sebum (oil) and bacteria. Thus, working out without cleaning your face beforehand makes it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
If you have a workout routine that lasts for four to seven days a week, the pores of the skin may be weighed down by too much dead skin cells, sweat, oil and bacteria, leading to clogged pores and acne pustules.
Tips on how to prevent exercise-induced acne:
#1: Ensure proper hygiene
For females, take off any trace of makeup that you have before doing your workout routine. Makeup may contain ingredients which could clog the pores if left on during workout. After workout, be sure to go to the shower immediately to wash off the sweat and oil.
You can buy gentle cleansers, which are available in your local drugstores, and cleanse the acne-prone spots (forehead, chin, hairline area) during your shower.
However, if you cannot go to the shower immediately after your workout, change out of your sweaty clothes and spot-clean the acne-prone areas with rubbing alcohol or oil-removing acne pads.
#2: Use your towels with care
Towels may catch and spread bacteria if used improperly. Do not use vigorous rubbing motions when you clear the sweat from your skin – gently pat the area so that you will not aggravate the skin, which may lead to inflammation and acne breakout.
Do not use your used towel to cover gym equipment and exercise mats – the sweat and oil, mixed with sweat and oil from other people, may lead to worse acne breakouts. Instead, use a new, clean towel to cover mats or equipment.
#3: Avoid touching your face during workout
You may feel the urge to keep on touching your face or other body parts during workout due to some reason – avoid doing so as much as possible. You will end up spreading germs and other gook to other parts of the body.
#4: Don’t use the same workout clothes twice or thrice in a row
You may be tempted to use the same clothes you’ve worn on your last exercise routine, or you may be running out of fresh clothes to use. Whatever your reason is, use your workout clothes only once before you load them to the washer.
Remember; ensure proper hygiene – and wearing used clothes more than once only brings bacteria back to your skin.
#5: Clean your workout accessories frequently
The said accessories may be wrist straps, knee pads, and even your face towel. Be sure to use fresh socks for your workout. If you do yoga, invest in two yoga mats which you can alternate between cleaning, or use fresh yoga towels to cover the mat. Oil and bacteria will spread at a fast rate if you do not clean these accessories, which may exacerbate your acne.
Don’t let acne get it the way of your goal to fitness – follow the tips above in order to stay in shape without damaging your skin. However, if you suffer from severe form of acne mechanica, you should consult a dermatologist immediately.
The doctor will take a look at your condition and recommend the right treatment to help improve your condition. What about you, how do you keep your skin clean and healthy when you work out?