Ever wondered how your skincare products might be affected by a sweaty workout? Here’s everything you need to know about applying products to your face pre and post-workout.

We all long to experience that post-exercise glow and there is evidence to show that working out really can improve your skin. It’s common knowledge that we should avoid wearing make-up while working out, as it can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. But how do skincare products affect our skin when we sweat?

Depending on whether you opt for a morning or evening workout, your skincare routine will fall on either side of when you exercise. I know I’ve found myself thinking about whether it’s better to cleanse and moisturise before my workout at 7am and I usually opt against it in favour of another five minutes in bed. However, it often feels weird leaving the house without having washed my face.

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An expert explains how exercising can help your skin

We asked the experts to weigh in on how you should balance your workouts with your skincare routines. Here’s what they said…

“Never exercise with dirt on your face”

– Gia Mills, founder of Skin in Motion.

Mills created her own skincare line specifically designed for exercise. Her biggest tip is to ensure your clean is face before exercising.

“When we sweat, our pores open to regulate our temperature and any grime that is already on our face will seep in,” she says. “As you start to cool down from a vigorous workout, the skin will re-absorb any dirt already on your face which can lead to acne, dehydration and skin irritation.”

If you are working out later in the day, Mills suggests cleansing before your workout to remove any dirt that may have built up during the day. However, first thing in the morning your skin will already be fairly clean, so you don’t need to cleanse your face.

“Keep it simple”

– Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic.

If you are going to cleanse before your workout, Dr Boryseiwicz suggests keeping it simple and using light products. “Keep skincare products to a minimum during your workout. If you do need a moisturiser pre-workout, look for a lighter formulation such as a lotion or gel which will be less likely to clog the skin than richer creams or ointments,” she recommends.

She also recommends using a light cleanser, as you only need to remove makeup and dirt from your face, rather than doing an intensive cleanse.

“Your skincare will be more effective post-workout”

– Ada Ooi, celebrity facialist.

Ooi believes that it’s better to apply your skincare after working out. She explains that it might allow your skincare to be even more effective. “After a workout, you have more blood supply to the skin which can aid absorption maximising your skincare products,” she explains.

Plus, if you apply your skincare products very soon before your workout, they might not have had a chance to absorb into the skin and you may sweat or wash them off, which means they won’t be as effective.

“Always apply SPF”

– Dr Stephen Humble, aesthetic doctor.

Dr Humble agrees that it’s more effective to apply your skincare post-workout. The only exception to this is SPF, he explains. “The one part of your routine that should be done pre-workout, especially if you are exercising outside, is SPF,” he says. “This should be applied around 30 minutes prior to exposure to allow for absorption before you workout and sweat.”

SPF will ensure your skin is not damaged by the sun’s UV rays.

In conclusion:

If you exercise in the morning: apply an SPF 30 minutes before your workout and do the rest of your skincare routine post-workout.

If you exercise in the afternoon or evening: do your normal skincare routine in the morning and then cleanse your skin again before your workout to remove dirt. Then, do your normal evening skincare routine post-workout.

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Images: Getty

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