The Perfect Pre/Post Skincare Routine For Your Workout

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woman in white gym clothes stretching

Most of us can't live without exercise. It has become such a fundamental part of our daily routines, just like sleeping and brushing our teeth, that we feel under the weather whenever we skip our workouts. Exercise is invigorating, self-esteem boosting, health-promoting. Did we mention that it also helps us get in shape?

The not so good news is that, all too often, people experience skin issues related to exercise such as acne, rosacea flare-ups, and sensitivity. In reality, these problems are a direct result of an inadequate pre and post skin care routine. So, let's explore the different workout scenarios and their corresponding skin care recommendations using our skincare products of course. Level up your skincare game!

What Happens When Sweat Dries On Your Skin?

When we workout, our temperature rises and the body tries to regulate it by sweating. This leads us to the next question: Is sweat bad for your skin? Sweat, in and of itself, is not harmful. Quite the opposite; sweat rinses the skin, cools it down and can even act as an antimicrobial agent thanks to its Dermcidin (antibiotic peptide) content.[1]

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Sweating benefits

are only overshadowed by poor skin care choices.

Sweat can form an occlusive humid layer if we exercise with heavy-weight formulas on. We are talking about makeup, rich moisturizers and oil-based products. Under those circumstances, sweat will clog and irritate the skin, as well as provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive. This effect can be observed as redness and breakouts (both inflammatory and non-inflammatory). In order to get the best out of our workouts, but without experiencing such a catastrophic effect on the skin, we have put together an easy-to-follow list of guidelines.

General Skincare Rules To Consider For Your Next Workout

  • Thoroughly wash your hands before and after your workout.
  • Disinfect the gym equipment before and after exercising. You need to make sure that all the surfaces your skin will be in contact with are squeaky clean.
  • Avoid touching your face or any parts of your body.
  • While exercising, remove excess sweat with a soft towel by gently patting the skin. You will get better results if you dampen the towel as it will help your skin stay fresh and remain hydrated.
  • Remove any sweaty clothes once you finish your workout.
  • If you are going to be exposed to sunlight, you need to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30+. Remember to reapply every two hours.
  • Body acne sufferers should completely rinse body sweat or wipe the skin with a damp cotton towel after exercising. If possible, shower immediately afterwards with a salicylic/willow bark/wintergreen cleanser and moisturize the skin. The water temperature should be tepid or even cold to cool down the body.
  • If you wear a face mask while exercising, change it for a clean one once you have finished your exercise routine. Reusable face masks must be washed immediately.
  • Keep yourself hydrated during your workout. Do not allow yourself to get thirsty.
  • Wear sunglasses and UPF clothing (if possible) when exercising outdoors
  • Apply a protective lip balm before starting your workout. Lips are also exposed to sunlight and get dry as we sweat.

Pre-Workout Skincare Routine: The Guidelines


Morning Skincare Routine Recommendations

  • It is not necessary to cleanse the skin. If you feel like you must cleanse it, you can use a micellar water or rinse the skin with tepid/cool water.
  • Layer your sunscreen and you are good to go. Those with extremely dry complexions can apply a light-weight moisturizer first


Noon Or Afternoon Skincare Routine Recommendations

  • If you are not going to apply any makeup, just follow your regular daytime routine after showering/bathing and always finish with your sunscreen.
  • Those truly concerned about acne should apply very light-weight formulas to avoid clogging the pores.
  • If you are wearing makeup, you need to remove it and then layer a toner/mist and your sunscreen. Those with super dry complexions may need to apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer after the toner/mist. As we try to simplify skincare routines, though, we recommendusing instead a mineral-based sunscreen that can also work as a light moisturizer.


Night Skincare Routine Recommendations

  • All makeup will have to be removed prior to the workout. You can do so with a micellar formula followed by a hydrating mist/toner. This recommendation also applies to people who spend most of the day  outdoors (exposed to high levels of pollutants) and have to reapply their sunscreen several times.
  • If no makeup was applied, and you remained indoors, you can safely exercise with your daily skincare routine on.

Post-Workout Skincare Routine: The Guidelines


Morning Skincare Routine Recommendations
  • Immediately after exercising, rinse your face with tepid/cool water and pat your skin dry or wipe the skin clean with a cotton pad saturated with a micellar cleanser.
  • Take shower/bath. If you only rinsed the skin after working out, you can proceed to cleanse it with your favorite product.
  • Follow with the rest of your skincare and body care routine: toner, serum, moisturizer and sunscreen.


Noon Or Afternoon Skincare Routine Recommendations
  • As soon as you finish your workout, rinse your skin with tepid/cool water and pat it dry or wipe the skin clean with a cotton pad saturated with a micellar cleanser.
  • Layer a toner/mist, light-weight moisturizer and your sunscreen. If you must wear makeup, you can do so once your sunscreen has set.


Night Skincare Routine Recommendations
  • Rinse your skin with tepid/cool water after exercising and pat it dry or wipe it clean with a cotton pad saturated with a micellar water.
  • Once home, follow your full-fledged nightly skincare. This is the perfect time to double cleanse.

A word of caution about after gym face wipes, they are not the ideal option to cleanse your skin even though they can be super practical. Their materials can be a bit too rough and end up irritating and creating tiny scratches on its surface. They also contain drying ingredients, such as alcohol, that alter the delicate pH balance and strip your complexion of its beautiful and protective barrier.

Post-Workout Hydration Tips And Tricks

As soon as we finish our workout, our six sense tells us to drink the coldest water available. This is not always the best decision because our body's temperature can rise significantly and produce a “shock” that affects our digestive system and makes our blood vessels contract abruptly. According to research, the best results are achieved with cool (not ice cold) water. By cool we mean 16°C or 60.8°F[2]. Even room temperature water will help replenish the lost water during exercise and refresh the body. Though, the single most important factor is to consistently drink fluids before, during, and after the workout. As you can expect, the number one fluid of any post workout hydration protocol should be pure water. This includes water that has been run through any purification systems, mineral and spring waters. Coconut water is the queen of electrolytes and will too help you to quickly recover after a strenuous workout routine.

The Workout Takeaway, From Yours Truly

Exercising can be a lot of fun, help us achieve our fitness goals and skyrocket our well-being levels. It doesn't come hassle free, though, as certain common workout practices will wreak havoc on our skin health. By incorporating Rosafa's workout recommendations you will be able to get in shape worry-free and achieve the ultra coveted

post workout glow

. For more information related to your skin, make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Linkedin!

1 comment


Very useful info, thank you!

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