Exercise and Acne

Attention couch potatoes: Time to deep six the notion that exercise causes acne. Exercise is good for you—end of story. If you find that working out and breaking out seem to go hand in hand, it probably has more to do with what you’re putting on your body than what you’re doing with it during those sweating to the oldies sessions.

For example, even oil free and mineral makeup can mix with sweat and clog pores during a strenuous workout, so your best bet is to exercise with a bare face. If you absolutely must enhance, keep it as light as possible.

If you’re prone to body acne, it’s also important to keep your clothing choices in mind when working out. Synthetic fabrics like lycra and nylon trap moisture against your skin, which creates the ideal breeding ground for the bacteria that causes breakouts. Instead, opt for natural choices like cotton, hemp and wool. They’ll help your skin breathe—and keep you dry and pimple free. And remember that acne causing bacteria can be hiding where you least expect it—like your bike helmet or wet suit—so always make sure that your equipment is clean and dry before putting it away. Disinfecting wipes or spray can help keep them fresh between uses. And speaking of helmets, if you’re noticing breakouts along your forehead, consider lining the rim with a soft cotton rag or a piece of an old tee shirt to help absorb moisture.

Finally, if you like to work out outdoors, it’s important to wear sunscreen. Make sure you go with a non-comedogenic version—meaning that it won’t clog your pores. Oil free sunscreens of at least SPF 15 work best.

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