Makeup at the Gym
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Ah, exercise. When we actually find the time to do it, it’s most likely right after a long work day. That said, there’s a high chance you’ve probably worked out with a face full of makeup on before. Have you wondered whether exercising with makeup on is really bad for your skin or if it’s totally fine to look extra glam at the gym? We sought out Whitney Bowe, M.D. and Neal Schultz, M.D., an N.Y.C. dermatologist, host of and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz to find out.

Bowe recommends always removing any and all makeup traces before a workout. “Makeup forms a barrier on your skin covering your pores, and when working out, your makeup mixes with oil and perspiration, which in turn congests your skin and prevents those pores from being able to release sweat,” she tells InStyle. “When you work out, your pores and sweat glands open up in order to cool down your body—wearing a full face of makeup can block your pores and glands, hindering your skin’s ability to breathe, which in turn can result in breakouts, blackheads and skin irritation.”

If you work out makeup-free, there are essential skin care steps to take during your workout. “Be sure to have a clean towel so you can pat your face instead of rubbing it dry,” Schultz tells InStyle. According to Schultz, if you’ve washed your face prior to working out, then you only need to splash your face with water and pat it dry after the workout—no soap necessary.

If makeup is worn to the gym, there are important factors to consider to effectively protect your skin. Like for instance, sweat-proof makeup does not make a difference. “When sweat is mixed with makeup (no matter what type of makeup), it creates an ideal environment for acne,” Bowe tells InStyle. When it comes to deciphering which type of makeup is worse to wear, Bowe adds that foundation is a big no-no. However, eye makeup tends to be composed of heavy waxes and oils, therefore if it smears on the skin around the eye, it could potentially lead to clogged pores. If you can’t resist wearing makeup, Bower suggests opting for an oil-free, lightweight foundation or BB cream, a lip balm or Chapstick and waterproof, silicone-based mascara.

In addition, if you’ve chosen to wear makeup while working out, then it’s crucial to cleanse tone and exfoliate your skin immediately after. “Use a cleanser sufficient to remove not only the surface dirt and oil, but all of your makeup,” Schultz adds. “To make sure that there’s no residual left and that all of the cleanser has been removed, use a toner or astringent afterwards.” To further force out any remaining oil clogs, dead cells, makeup, dirt or air pollution that are a result of face-touching during a workout, Schultz recommends using a 7- or 8-percent glycolic solution or pad.