We've all done it: finished our workout with no time left to shower before having to run to work. We just freshen up our makeup and splash on some perfume to mask the tell-tale stench of sweat.
But this isn't the time to scrimp on skincare. This is a time when your skin will be screaming for a little TLC.
You exercise to feel better. You exercise to look better. But to both look and feel your best, you need to also properly care for your skin to enhance the benefits of exercise - rather than work against them.
We reveal the best post-workout beauty tips to keep your glow gorgeous. All it takes is a few extra minutes.
Exercise Benefits Your Skin
"Inflammation is one of the fundamental underlying causes of almost all chronic disease," notes Mark Hyman, M.D., Founder and Medical Center Director of the UltraWellness Center in Lennox, Massachusetts and coauthor of UltraPrevention: The 6-Week Plan That Will Make You Healthy for Life. That includes inflammation that affects your skin, causing conditions like acne, psoriasis and rosacea.
Exercise has been linked to a decrease in inflammation in the body. It produces endorphins (hormones secreted by the brain that have a pain-relieving effect, making us feel good). These endorphins help to reduce our stress level and the resultant stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is implicated in the inflammatory process and is known to provoke acne and break down collagen.
It also helps skin cells regenerate and remove toxins more efficiently. Blood and oxygen help the skin by drawing out toxins, including all the gunk that contributes to clogged pores. This enhanced blood flow helps to propel those toxins out. A good sweat session is sort of like a steam clean for your pores.
Cold Water Splash
After your workout you'll most likely be flushed. You could continue to sweat for a long time after you think you've cooled off. You can get a jumpstart on things as soon as your workout ends by splashing freezing-cold water on your face and wrists. New York City dermatologist, Jeannette Graf, M.D., swears it will cool you down and and ease the redness in your face.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is no fountain of youth but it's probably as close as you can get. Staying well-hydrated is the key to maintaining your skin's youthful glow. It's especially important to drink plenty of water both before and after exercise. Starting to drink before your workout helps your body build reserves. Dermatologists advise you drink about eight ounces of water within 30 minutes of finishing your exercise routine to hydrate your body. They recommend you keep drinking even after you've left the gym. Your body loses so much moisture during your trampoline or hot yoga class so you'll need to keep hydrating after your workout to help your skin recover.
Remove Sweat Quickly
Sweat helps to purge dirt and toxins from your pores, but you then must get rid of the sweat to complete that process. Allowing all of that salty stuff to stay on your face is just begging for flare-ups, clogged pores, irritation, and redness. The combination of body fluids, dirt, and oil will affect your skin's pH balance, too.
Wash the sweat away immediately after exercising but be gentle on your skin. Aside from not washing your skin at all, Julie Russak, M.D., New York City Board Certified Dermatologist says that "being too aggressive with your skin" is the number one mistake people make after a workout.
If you're short on time, use a 2-in-1 body wash. The oil-based formula is hydrating, so if you have to dodge back to the office after your shower without moisturizing, it won't be the end of the world, though you really shouldn't.
"Even if you don't have time for a sull shower post-workout, you should thoroughly cleanse your face. Otherwise, your skin will be susceptible to breakouts," says makeup artist Anna Nenoiu. Staying away from anything that's over-drying, use a gentle cleanser like Glowbiotics Probiotic Revitalizing Cleanser to thoroughly wash your face. The idea is to get rid of the salty sweat with all of the dirt and sludge attached to it without irritating your skin. Topical probiotics have the ability to calm skin on a cellular level, helping to further relieve inflammation. Use tepid water, and then end with a few splashes of cool water. Definitely stay away from hot water, which will add to your post-workout redness.
Just spot-clean your hair in the shower with a combined shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one. Just rub it in where you need it most - your roots - and rinse. If you have to skip a full shower, carry a dry shampoo in your bag so you can fluff up before leaving the gym.
Don't scrub the water off. Just pat dry until you're almost dry. Especially if your face is already red from your workout. Too vigorous of a toweling-off could irritate it.
Believe it or not, all of that dripping sweat did nothing to actually moisturize your face. Quite the opposite, in fact. It's essential that you moisturize now to help your skin replenish any water it lost during your workout.
Use a light moisturizer like Glowbiotics Probiotic Instant Refreshing Gel Hydrator to soothe inflammation before you reapply your sunscreen and makeup. It's a refreshing lightweight alternative to traditional moisturizers that contains a proprietary blend of topical probiotics anti-inflammatory botanicals, and controlled-release phospholipids working together to reinforce your skin's natural moisture barrier without feeling heavy.
Go Light On the Makeup
It's useless to try to go full-face when you leave the gym since you'll still be damp from sweat for a while, lending to a drippy-eyes look. Plus, your face is already flushed so there's no need to go full-on with the bronzer and blush. Keep things simple.
Getting your blood pumping really helps to feed your skin with a healthy dose of oxygenated blood, giving you that post-workout glow that can be maintained for hours after a workout. The long-term benefits of exercise for your skin are well-worth the trouble. Taking just a little bit of time before you run back to work to care for your skin can make a world of difference.