How To Navigate Your Skincare Routine During A Workout

By Charlie Colville

6 months ago

Train your skin alongside your body

Hitting the gym (or your living room, aka the home gym) this year? While your body may end up in tip-top shape, your skin needs just as much care when it comes to embarking on a workout. Here’s our guide to delivering the best skincare before and after a workout.

How To Navigate Your Skincare Routine During A Workout

Should You Wash Your Face Before Or After A Workout?

While most people don’t tend to bother with washing their face before exercising, it’s actually important you take care of your skin before AND after a session at the gym. Doing your skincare routine before a workout protects the skin and creates a clean surface to prevent oil build up, while afterwards helps to clean away any lingering sweat and soothe inflamed skin.

Looking After Your Skin Pre-Workout

While it may seem a hassle, it’s recommended that we remove all makeup before working out to avoid creating an ideal environment for breakouts. Those who are prone to blemishes are especially at risk of developing flare-ups, as this skin type tends to overheat, perspire more and produce oils that can build up on the skin’s surface.

A quick rundown of your usual skincare routine should do the job, with an emphasis on cleansing and hydrating skin to leave it feeling fresh and ready for action. It’s also important you apply a layer of sunscreen before embarking on your workout, so that your skin stays protected against the elements.

Close up of eyes with sweat on forehead

Looking After Your Skin Post-Workout

A post-session skincare routine is just as important, as it can help clear away the layers of sweat and oil that accumulate during a workout. ‘Prolonged exposure to sweat can also irritate the skin causing inflammation and flare ups of eczema, especially in the creases of our skin,’ says dermatologist Dr. Shaaria Nasir, in a guide created with The Body Shop. ‘If left on the skin for long periods, the sweat and moist areas become a great breeding ground for bacteria or yeast. We all have these microorganisms living on our skin but in the right environment the microorganisms will thrive and start causing problems to our skin. Some examples are acne breakouts and yeast infections.’

Skincare By Workout


Chlorine doesn’t just damage hair — it can do a number on your skin, too. Lengthy sessions in the pool can dry out skin, causing irritation and itchiness. Post swim, it’s important to focus on these key issues with your skincare routine, implementing a gentle exfoliator and a nourishing moisturiser to help remove dead skin cells and soothe the surface.

Exercise in winter

(c) Getty Images


Often the sweatiest of workouts, it’s super important that you pay attention to your skin after any form of cardio (think running, Pilates, jumping, boxing, biking). As we mention, sweat leads to bacteria, so it’s best to clean up thoroughly post-workout. Wash your face as you normally would – or, even better, double cleanse – to wipe away that layer of sweat and reset your face for the rest of the day.

Strength Training

Similarly to cardio, strength training will have your working up a sweat – meaning a deep post-workout clean is essential. Additionally, you may want to incorporate relaxing skincare ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile and witch hazel to help you unclench a little bit after working out.

Woman at the gym

(c) John Arano, Unsplash


Just like any other form of exercise, you’re likely going to find yourself sweaty to some extent after a yoga class. But while you crack on with washing your face, keep in mind that you want to keep the glow of your recent sun salutations and lean into products that reflect this – think anti-inflammatory gels, light moisturisers and vitamin E serums.

Featured image: Avi Richards, Unsplash