Are you a regular gym-bunnie? Well done you! It can be hard to get yourself into a healthy routine, but going to the gym is a great habit to get into for your general health and fitness. Unfortunately, there is a chance that as a consequence of your active lifestyle, you may be damaging your skin. It’s all too easy to pick up bad habits when working out, especially if you’re so busy trying to make time for it in the first place. Have you found that after a particular gruelling workout those pesky creases on your face seem to have deepened? Or your face stays red for an unusually long period of time? Whether you’re prone to getting a few new pimples post gym session or you’re skin is left feeling dry and itchy, there are ways to ensure your skin benefits from your healthy lifestyle too. If you’re guilty of any of the below, make sure you snap out of it!
Not removing your makeup pre-workout
It’s more than likely that you’re trying to squeeze in a workout in your lunch break or straight after work, so you barely have time to change from heels to trainers, let alone remove your makeup. However, during your workout, oils, bacteria and sweat are likely to build up on your skin, which can cause pours to clog and spots to surface. Whilst it’s actually more important to ensure you wash and cleanse your face post workout, ensuring your skin is clear and free to breathe prior to hopping on that treadmill will do it the world of good. Always opt for alcohol free cleansers to avoid drying out your skin.
When you sweat during your workout you are literally losing water from your body, which naturally leaves your skin dehydrated. When your skin becomes dehydrated it becomes extremely fragile, surface lines can increase and deepen and skin cells can die, causing premature ageing. It’s vital you make sure you are drinking enough water before, after and during your session, and that you keep your skin moisturized. After washing and cleansing, add a lightweight moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated.
Lack of SPF
If you were planning to lay out in the sunshine for an hour at midday, you’d wear SPF - right? So why aren’t you applying when you workout outdoors? We recommend that you wear SPF all year round to help prevent premature ageing and protect your skin from UV damage, so whether you’re running in the morning, at midday or when you get back from work, make sure your skin is protected and ready to go by applying a light moisturizer with SPF.
Forgetting to wash your towel or using a towel that has been bleached with chlorine
We’re all guilty of chucking our gym bags on the floor the moment we get through the door and forgetting about them. Trouble is, when you come to use your towel the next time you’re at the gym, bacteria and fungus will have already started to form - and it’s not always visible to the naked eye. As soon as you get back from the gym, wash and hang up your towel and other workout gear, especially if you’re prone to sweating quite a bit. This will help to get rid of that nasty gym smell and will reduce the risk of your skin coming into contact with any harmful bacteria. Some gyms provide towels that have been bleached with chlorine and wiping your skin with it can also irritate your skin. Your best bet is bringing your own clean towel to workout.
Touching your face
When you’re training hard you’re bound to sweat and it’s all too tempting to wipe the sweat from your face to help you keep going for longer, but this is the worst thing you could do! Just think of the number of people who use the gym every single day, not all of them will be as hygienic as you are but you have to share equipment with them nevertheless. Skin infections and bacteria can be easily transmitted at the gym, so make sure you use your sweatbands to tackle sweat and not your hands!
Whether you’re training for a marathon, trying to shed those last few pounds or simply trying to keep fit, you should only ever exercise in moderation. Overdoing it at the gym cannot only take its toll on your bones and muscles, but your cells too. If you leave the gym feeling exhausted, chances are the cells in your skin can become depleted of essential nutrients. Even the best athletes know how important it is to take a break and relax, so do yourself a favour and do the same for your skin!