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Exercise and your skin

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A sweaty workout is great for your mind and body, but it can impact your skin health. Find out how to reap the rewards of exercise without the drawbacks.

Exercising increases blood flow and removes toxins from your skin leaving you with a vibrant and healthy glow. However, it also increases oil and sweat production which can clog pores and dry skin out. Therefore, following a solid pre- and post-workout routine will help skin reap the rewards of your hard work.


Whether you're attending a gentle yoga class or working up a sweat at spinning, starting with a clean base is always a good idea. Taking the time to cleanse your face will leave your skin feeling healthier and fresher post-workout.

If you feel particularly self-conscious about going bare-faced in the gym or during a class, use a tinted moisturiser rather than a foundation and remember to follow a solid post-workout skin routine.

During your workout

If you know you're likely to sweat during exercise, pop a flannel or small towel in your bag and regularly dab your face with it and keep your hair out of your face to prevent sweaty strands falling on your skin. Remember to never use your hands for wiping away hair or sweat as they can be magnets for bacteria and dirt.

Quite disturbingly, your yoga mat is a hot-bed for harmful bacteria and fungi so make sure you disinfect it before and after use. Similarly, rowing machines, treadmills and cross-trainers can also harbour plenty of nasties that could compromise both your skin and overall health. In a recent study published by the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 63% of machines that had been wiped down, still had traces of bacteria.1

Remember to take your own towel or mat, thoroughly wipe down exercise equipment before and after use and wash your hands post-workout.


The first 5-10 minutes after your workout are crucial:

  • A hydrating body wash will instantly rinse away sweat which can often dry skin out. Turn the temperature down as hot water can further dehydrate skin.
  • Skin can be more sensitive after a workout, so be gentle. A nourishing face wash will help remove sweat and bacteria that has built up.
  • Sweating can have a dehydrating effect on the skin, which also increases the visibility of lines and wrinkles, so post-shower opt for a serum and rich moisturiser (day or night depending on when you exercise) that can replenish lost moisture and oils.
  • Twice a week, take the time to exfoliate in order to slough away dead skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion.

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