If there’s one thing I definitely don’t miss about my adolescence, it’s acne.
(Also up there? Not having a CLUE how to grow my bangs out, general social awkwardness and feeling totally weird in my body. But that’s for another post.)
And while I’m happy that the majority of my adolescent acne woes are behind me, I still get the occasional annoying breakout – some of it is hormonal, I know, but others fall squarely in the exercise acne camp.
And it’s no fun! You go to the gym to feel better inside and out – not break out! Which is why we wanted to share these tips how to prevent exercise acne from New York Dermatologist, Dr. Jeremy Fenton of the Schweiger Dermatology Group, for Be-YOU-tiful Week.
How to Prevent Exercise Acne
Nothing feels better than a good sweat session. Working out isn’t always as good for your skin as it is for your health. A build-up of sweat can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Not to mention, touching your face transfers oil and bacteria (which thrive in moist, humid environments like the gym) to the skin, leading to possible acne flare-ups. Here are four easy ways to prevent exercise acne each time you hit the gym.
- Don’t postpone showering. Showering soon after a workout will prevent sweat from sticking around and mixing with dead skin cells to clog pores. If you don’t have time or access to a shower right after your workout, you can use a medicated pad with salicylic or glycolic acid (such as Clear Clinic ClearMe Pads) for a quick wipe-down to prevent exercise acne.
- Use the right body wash. Trading out your regular soap for an antibacterial or anti-acne wash containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can also be helpful at preventing exercise acne. One tip for using a benzoyl peroxide wash is to leave it on for a few minutes after you lather (shave or brush your teeth in the shower) before rinsing it off. This can help the medication sink in. There are also micronized forms of benzoyl peroxide on the market now that have smaller sized particles of the medication, allowing for deeper penetration into the pores and follicles.
- Exfoliate regularly. Regular exfoliation is the key to preventing the buildup of skin cells: exfoliating scrubs, body brushes or just a washcloth can make a big difference.
- Breathable clothing. Try to wear loose-fitting, breathable cotton clothing. The tighter, synthetic materials just compress the sweat and dirt into the pores.
Do you know notice exercise acne flare-ups when you don’t do these things? I’ve found it’s a little bit better for me in the winter than the summer just because I sweat less and there’s less humidity in the cooler months, but number 3 is so key for me!