5 Post-Exercise Tips for Clear, Healthy Skin

Exercise is a must for optimal health, but is it having a detrimental effect on your skin? Based in New York City and Miami, dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali shares a few simple steps that can help your skin stand up to your fitness routine beautifully.

Exercise has myriad benefits for the body, and in addition to burning calories and strengthening muscles, physical activity helps keep levels of the stress hormone cortisol in check. Cortisol has been linked to inflammation, which can prematurely age every cell in the body, including your skin. This stress hormone can also compromise the skin’s collagen (leading to wrinkles and loss of elasticity), and post-exercise skincare missteps can also increase breakouts (especially in those who are already acne-prone). Here, five essential steps to take as soon as you finish your workout so you can enjoy the healthy flush you naturally get thanks to increased blood flow without any unwanted skin side effects.

Wash your face.
The easiest way to prevent exercise-related acne is to cleanse your face immediately after working out to prevent sweat, oil and dead skin cells from clogging the pores. Ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are ideal for gently exfoliating the skin and minimizing bacteria as well. I personally use and recommend Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser.


Get out of sweaty clothes.
Moisture-wicking fabrics may be great for helping you stay cool while working out, but tight-fitting styles can hold sweat, oil and bacteria on the skin—and lead to body breakouts. Since you’re getting out of your exercise gear anyway, a quick shower is in order as well to ensure there’s no lingering perspiration or other blemish-causing debris on the skin.

Be mindful of fungus.
From the showers to the locker room floor, the gym is rife with unsavory organisms—and fungus can cause acne as well as athlete’s foot. An anti-dandruff shampoo can be used on the body to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria that causes breakouts as well as cracking between the toes and itchy, peeling feet. Look for a shampoo with zinc pyrithione like Dove Men+Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and use it as a body wash when you shower after the gym.


Avoid post-exercise exfoliation.
The increase in blood flow you experience while exercising can make your skin more prone to micro-scratches and sensitivity than usual. Save the scrubs and other harsh exfoliants for a time when your skin is at its normal temperature, at least a few hours after your workout.

Reduce too much redness.
If your post-workout flush is a little too rosy for your liking, a targeted treatment serum can help. SkinCeuticals’ Redness Neutralizer provides an instant cooling sensation, helps reduce redness on contact and delivers hydration to smooth the skin and enhance its radiance.


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