Sip water, wear a hat and sunscreen, go bare faced
These days most people are taking up exercise to stay fit, but not many realise that, if proper care is not taken, basic fitness workouts like swimming or running can cause skin problems.
Should you wear sunscreen? What kind should you use? And how do you take it off completely? How much water should you drink?
I asked a few friends who do different forms of exercise regularly and here are some of the tips they gave me to keep your skin healthy if you are exercising.
At the gym
While exercising makes you sweat, which is a good way to exfoliate or remove toxins from the skin, issues can arise with dry skin due to dehydration. If you are working out in a gym, you will lose water content in the body due to sweat, which in turn dehydrates the skin. Plus, a bath or shower after exercise, if not followed up with enough water and a good moisturiser, can dry skin further.
Make sure you drink enough water before and after you exercise, and at regular intervals while you are working out.
Use a body scrub regularly to exfoliate because sweat can clog pores and cause blackheads. Applying a water-based body lotion all over after a shower also helps keep the skin moist.
An important tip given by a friend who loves to party is not to undertake vigorous exercise the next day if you have had a few drinks. Alcohol causes dehydration and running the morning after further dehydrates the skin as you are bound to sweat more. She usually sticks to a calmer yoga routine if she has had a couple of glasses of wine the night before.
If you are exercising outdoors, pollution in the air, dust particles and UV rays from the harsh sun, can do enough damage to put you off exercise completely. It’s a must to protect your skin.
Most of us use SPF as a part of our daily routine, but if you are exercising, depending on the time of day you are outdoors, use a non-oily formula as it can clog the skin by mixing with the sebum and the oils secreted. Make sure you wash it off well afterwards as even remnants will be enough to clog the skin.
If you are carrying a little pouch, besides drinking water, carry a spritzer with a facial mist or just plain water. Keep spraying on your face at regular intervals to keep the skin moist and the temperature low. Wearing a baseball cap or hat can help protect the skin and hair from the sun’s rays. Avoid crinkling your eyes while you run as that will give you crows’ feet.
Ditch the makeup
For those of you who are never seen without their makeup or lipstick on, here is some bad news. If possible, you should not wear makeup while you exercise – at the gym or outdoors. You may want that cute guy on the treadmill to notice you all dolled up, but foundation, mascara and lipstick can really do more harm in the long run than an unrequited crush.
Wearing makeup when you are going to perspire means it will start to come off, with the sweat, and run down your face. Whether it is uneven foundation or streaks of mascara, the sight is not pretty. Plus, as you exercise, your body warms up, the pores open, and the chemicals in the makeup go deeper into your skin. If you absolutely have to wear foundation, look for a mineral-based, or gel-based, one. And gloss is a better option than lipstick, if you like having a bit of colour on your face while you work out.
An obvious idea is that, with all the chemicals, swimming in a pool can damage coloured hair. But ask fitness enthusiasts about skincare while swimming and most will shrug and say nothing. In fact, your skin can also be affected by pool water. It’s not just the face and neck either; while swimming, most of the body is exposed to the chlorinated water and is more likely to get damaged.
Most pools are chlorinated, and that can really dry out your skin out, not to mention what it can do to your hair. Make sure you shower really well after a swim to get that chlorine off you, including the smell. Plus, if you have time, linger in the shower a bit longer, as the running water will give your body some extra moisture. Shampoo and soap yourself twice if you can, and then slather your skin with a water-based body lotion. Hypoallergenic or organic ones work best. Conditioner to protect your hair is also a must.
Staying fit is all very well, but don’t forget to look after your skin while you exercise. That way, you look gorgeous and are in top shape at all times.