Skincare routine for acne post-workout
The Spot

Help! Do I do my Skincare Routine Before or After Working Out?

By Madeleine Woon


Over the past six months, the area FKA as my ‘living room’ has transformed into: the neighborhood cafe, office, meeting room, cinema, and—admittedly less regularly, but def on occasion—my yoga and aerobics studio. A bit of furniture shuffling and a generous imagination has made all of them, and especially the last one, possible.

Working out at home has its benefits: There’s no commute time, you can easily work it around your schedule, it’s free, and it all but scraps the age-old question: Should I do my skincare routine before or after working out? I consulted with a handful of dermatologists  to weigh in on the debate…


Different time, different rules for your skincare routine

According to board-certified dermatologist Purvisah Patel, MD, your skincare products will do their best work when they’re applied to freshly clean skin and when they can be left on for the maximum amount of time. If you’re working out in the AM, it makes more sense to apply your products after you’re done sweating, as your face will absorb rather than repel what you are lovingly slathering on it. “The products will sweat off and not get a chance to stay on the skin, so definitely do everything after,” confirms Dr. Patel.

If your body-moving endeavors take place during the middle of the day, there’s a slightly different set of rules. “Your complete skincare regimen will get washed off and will need to be reapplied before bedtime. Bedtime is the absolute best time to apply active ingredients, as the skin is clean and the body is oxygenating and recovering when you are sleeping,” Dr. Patel says. “There is also a body temp and blood flow spike when sleeping that helps with absorption.” In the meantime, add an optional lightweight serum, and mandatory moisturizer and SPF to carry out the rest of your afternoon.


Should I take my makeup off before working out? 

As your body heats up during a workout, your pores open and “you don’t want that makeup to settle back into the pores,” Dr. Manish Shah, a plastic surgeon based in Denver, says. Cleanse with micellar water or your favorite makeup remover before heading into class or out for a run.


ZitSticka Killa patch will stick around 

Unsure if you should patch up before working out? No need, family. Stash a few ZitSticka KILLA pimple patches in your gym bag, because these loyal little suckers will stay put, no matter how vigorous your chosen workout is. Not only will they block you from touching and picking, they can also resolve the drama quickly at the source.. They’re designed to stay put even after you cleanse post-workout, too, so you can continue to reap all the zit melting benefits long after your Savasana ends.


Always wash your face after working out

Washing your face after a workout is a non-negotiable, and the sooner the better. “It’s very important to clean skin gently following a workout to remove drama and sweat residue that accumulated during your workout,” Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, a New York-based dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, says. “It’s also helpful to cool off skin to prevent breaking of blood vessels and return skin temperature to a normal level quicker.”


Wait a while to go all out with your skincare routine

New York-based dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross believes it’s best to use very little product after exercise: “Hold off with anything occlusive [like thick moisturizers] because when you increase your metabolism, the oil glands have a natural desire to secrete. Skin has yet to equilibrate, so putting anything on right away may block the pores.” Wait until the skin has returned to room temperature to apply moisturizer and makeup. “When skin is overheated, it can exacerbate redness even when skin is normally not prone to this condition,” Dr. Gross explains. “All products are designed to work under normal physiological conditions such as normal room temperature, non-sweating circumstances, and skin that is not already red.” 


We know you probably don't want to hear this, but working out is actually great for your skin. Read more about it here


Image: @best.skinterest