Have you ever wondered why your skin breaks out after enduring a rigorous gym-session, instead of glowing like it’s supposed to? That is because sweat and skin don’t go well together. Though exercise helps your body remove toxins by pushing impurities out of pores, it can also lead to chafing, rashes and clogging of pores. Here are some of the common reasons that can affect your skin before, during and after a workout.

  1. Towel: Gym towels are often bleached with harsh chemicals that can also affect your immune system and cause acne. Towels also shelter bacteria due to all the sweat absorbed and rubbing it against your skin could often result in skin infections. Ensure to use freshly laundered towels made of cotton or microfibre as they are known for absorbency and durability.
  1. Post-workout drinks: While working out, your body loses water and electrolytes through sweat. Fluid loss can cause dehydration and thereby loss of sebum (the natural moisturiser occurring in the skin) causing your skin to dry out. While the common advice is to drink 100% fresh fruit juice or water to make up for the loss, your dermatologist will advise you on the right solutions to prevent loss of moisture while working out.
  1. Gym equipment: Gym bars, dumb bells, and yoga mats harbour bacteria that can cause skin breakouts and acne. Use antibacterial wipes to clean gym equipment before you begin your training. It is always best to remember to avoid hand contact with your face post-workout, as your hands are exposed to bacteria as and when they come in contact with any gym equipment. Wash and exfoliate your skin after working out to rejuvenate your skin. It is also recommended that you invest in a pair of gloves that will free your hands from directly accessing unclean gym equipment. Maintaining a clean pair of gloves will avoid skin infections in the long run.
  1. Pool water: Everyone loves a good swim. But public pools often contain a huge proportion of pungent and strong chemicals. Chlorine is the weapon of choice when it comes to keeping pools free of bacteria and unwanted microorganisms. High levels of chlorine can cause itchiness and irritation to the skin. It strips your skin of its natural oils resulting in dry and flaky skin. Take a cold shower post your swimming work out. Cold water helps increase the blood circulation which will nourish the skin cells and keep them vital. It is also important to moisturise your skin immediately after drying yourself.
  1. An open environment: Exercising outside can provide a nice break from the monotony of your gym. However, sunscreen might not always be one of the first things we think about for an outdoor-workout check list. Sun exposure for a prolonged period can lead to premature wrinkling caused by dry skin. There are also possibilities of it leading to skin cancer. Talk to your dermatologist about the right sunscreen to use before exercising outdoors.
  1. Makeup: Makeup and sweat just don’t mix. Sweat and bacteria get trapped under layers of makeup preventing your skin from breathing through open pores thus resulting in pore-occlusion (clogging). Ensure to wipe of all the makeup and exfoliate your skin before you begin your training. This will allow your skin to breathe preventing breakouts, blackheads and skin irritation.

A fitness routine can do wonders for your body and add to your confidence. With the help of a few additions to your gym bag and guidance from your dermatologist you can continue to maintain that coveted post-workout glow.

– By Kaya’s Expert Dermatologists

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