With Memorial Day fast approaching, many are even more focused than usual on their bodies and getting them into tip-top shape at the gym.
While exercise has multiple benefits, very often workouts and great-looking skin don’t go together. We turned to Dr. Michael Horn, a Board-Certified Chicago plastic surgeon and anti-aging expert, to give tips on how you can get the six-pack and still have glowing, acne-free skin.
Sweat Itself Does Not Cause Acne
First, “It is important to know that sweat itself does not cause acne,” says Dr. Horn. He explains, “Professional sportsmen are predisposed to accumulating dirt and bacteria in their pores during and after workout periods. If left without proper cleansing this can cause worsening in skin conditions like acne and dermatitis.”
These days a gym visit almost doesn’t seem to “count” unless one posts it on Instagram.
This often leads women to wear makeup to the gym. Just don’t. Dr. Horn says, “Most makeup will clog pores by not allowing the skin to breathe naturally during workouts.
A better option is a tinted moisturizer if you are self-conscious about your skin tone.”
If you’re going to be outdoors, apply a light moisturizer with SPF to keep your skin protected from UV rays.
Make sure to choose a lightweight product as not to clog up your pores. Look for words like “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free” to know that your sunblock won’t cause acne.
Don’t Touch Your Face at the Gym!
Cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, these all-breed bacteria. Touching them and them wiping beads of sweat off your face is a sure way to spread bacteria that can create new breakouts.
Make sure to bring a towel for this instead of using your hands.
A Flowing Mane of Hair is Not Your Friend During a Workout
When you are working out it is a good idea to keep hair out of your face by styling it into a bun or rocking a dry and clean sweatband.
Sweat and dirt can get transferred from your hair onto your face. If you haven’t washed your hair and you use hairspray or other hair products, these can also splash onto your pores along with perspiration. This can cause irritations and breakouts.
How to Choose the Right Gym Towel
An old rag won’t be effective at absorbing sweat. However, you don’t want a gym towel that is as absorbent as a bath towel you would use to dry off your body after a shower at home.
Dr. Horn says that “The gym towel should be a happy medium — absorbent enough to keep your face dry during a workout, but not so thick it clings to bacteria even after a wash.”
Wear Loose and Comfortable Gym Clothes
“Spandex is tight clothing that can lead to skin infections from bacteria and fungi,” warns Dr. Horn. “Wear loose attire that will also help wick away the sweat preventing it from being absorbed by your skin.” Just google “sweat-wicking workout clothes.”
Reduce the Redness
Calm down a flushed face with your redness control remedy made up of a little bit of iced green tea and a spray bottle. “You’ll cool down your skin and add in a few extra anti-oxidants in the process,” says Dr. Horn.
After your workout
Dr. Horn stresses, “Wash your face immediately after your workout. You don’t want a mixture of dirt, oil, and bacteria clinging to your skin, affecting its pH, and clogging your pores.
If you are exercising in a park where there is no sink, bring cleansing facial wipes with you.”
Moisturize Post Workout
No matter your type of skin, after cleansing you must moisturize. Dr. Horn says that “Skipping this essential step can unknowingly dehydrate your skin causing your oil-producing glands to overcompensate by producing an oversupply of oil.
Use a moisturizer that’s been produced for your specific skin type and condition immediately after cleansing for the best results.”
Skip the Hot Shower
Sure, your muscles are sore, and you’re in the mood for a hot shower after a workout. Dr. Horn points out, “Hot water strips skin of vital oils, leaving you with dry, itchy, dull skin.”
Exfoliate more often to avoid “Bacne.” Breakouts on your back or chest are particularly common for “gym rats.”
To avoid this, use a gentle body scrub three times a week. Dr. Horn says, “This will keep pores clear and skin functioning well.”
Save Your “Superhero” Products for Night
Save serious treatment products for bedtime. Dr. Horn points out, “Even seemingly normal skin can experience much more sensitivity right after a workout.
You may want to wait until redness decreases by bedtime to use your super-active acne or anti-aging treatment products.”
About Dr. Michael Horn
Board-Certified Chicago, Illinois Plastic Surgeon
With more than 10,000 breast augmentation surgeries performed during his career of more than 23 years, Dr. Horn is known in the Chicago land area as the authority on breast augmentation.
His artistic eye, mastery and surgical skill in performing various face and body procedures, his dedication to patients’ safety, combined with his focus on unparalleled care and attention, make him one of the most sought-after surgeons in the Midwest.
Dr. Horn earned his medical degree at Loyola University in Chicago. He completed a general surgery residency with the Medical College of Wisconsin, as well as a sub-specialty training in plastic surgery with a second residency at Loyola University.
Dr. Michael Horn is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Chicago Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr. Horn is a frequent lecturer on the subject of plastic surgery and his work has been featured in several professional publications. He frequently attends national meetings to continue developing innovative plastic surgery techniques.
His ongoing commitment to patient safety and satisfaction is evident in the personal attention and care he provides to each of his plastic surgery clients. From the initial consultation to the final follow-up exam, Dr. Horn provides compassionate treatment tailored to the specific needs and goals of each individual.