Forming After the Gym
You’re pumped that you’ve stuck to your resolution about regular gym visits. Iron is pumping. The heart is pumping. Endorphins are pumping. You’re feeling good about yourself and you’re not wrong! But here’s a bit of static for your pump-up playlist. Those sweat glands are pumping as well. Oh, and since heat and humidity are triggers for your sebaceous glands, your face is fountaining oil like a burst pipe. Come the next day, your biceps aren’t looking much bigger, but that bacne is pretty swole. Don’t give up on your gym routine. Here’s how to meet your fitness goals without breaking out.
Take Your Gym Shower Seriously
You go to the gym because you can’t rival that setup at home. You lack the expensive equipment. The trainers. The regulation-sized squash court. But when it comes to getting clean, your home is stocked. As you head for the locker room, are you relying on whatever the gym puts in the canister? Are you just rinsing off because you forgot to pack a bar of soap in with your socks? Too many dudes follow up killer workouts with a sub-par cleaning. Don’t be one of them. Because that means that the weakest link in your skin care routine is doing the heaviest lifting when it comes to the week’s grime. Bring along a silicone body scrubber and that charcoal face wash. We’re all for washboard abs. Just don’t forget to wash them properly.
Monitor Straps and Bands
Don’t assign all the blame to those hard-working sweat glands. Have you noticed that while you are sweating all over, you’ve only got breakouts in certain places? A suspiciously specific pattern, even? Like a replica of the headband you were rocking? Or the chin strap of that kickboxing headgear? That’s because sweat isn’t necessarily the cause of the breakouts. It’s a foreign material that rubs the sweat back in, chafing the skin and blocking the pores. It’s called acne mechanica and it’s a workout warrior’s bane. Think about all the straps and bands tangled up in your workout. Stretch Straps. Lift Straps. Jock Straps. Exercise Bands. Waist Bands. They let you bundle safety, comfort and efficiency into that high-intensity training session, but they can tie into acne as well. When possible, adjust the straps and bands to reduce friction and target those areas when you are getting clean.
Address Shared Sweat
Let’s circle back to that kickboxing headgear. Have you been bobbing and weaving for a year without bothering to buy your own kit? Dude. It’s time. And it’s clear that you aren’t just dabbling in yoga any more. Roll out your own mat. Get one with dragons on it if you need to. Not everything at the gym is going to be your personal property, of course. That’s why you are coming to the gym. So you are already swapping enough sweat with strangers when you lean back into that bench press or hop into that spin class. Hopefully, you’ve taken advantage of the fact that there are wipes stations and shelves full of tiny towels everywhere. They aren’t just decorative.
Be Swift About Shedding Sweaty Clothes
Tired of hearing about sweat-soaked gear? Tough. Here comes another round. So you adjusted your straps and wiped down that seat rest. Then, you ran off some calories and burpeed away a few mental cobwebs. Take a moment to congratulate yourself. You earned it. But just take a moment because now you’re steeping in that sweat funk. In an ideal, acne-free world, sweat would simply evaporate instead of stagnating on your skin. You can live a bit of that dream by wearing loose-fitting clothes designed to wick out the moisture. But even the most technologically advanced tank top is going to trap some sweat. No one’s looking for you to start stripping as soon as you step off the elliptical. That’s a guaranteed ban from the gym. But the longer you linger in that grimy outfit, the more likely you are to suffer breakouts.
Don’t Let Your Gym Bag Off the Hook
Once you shed those clothes, don’t leave them festering in the gym bag. Here’s what’s weird about a gym bag. It’s our dirty hamper (and we mean dirty — my goodness, have you smelled those socks?) and our clean clothes drawer. One that we drag around locker room floors, but plop down on the kitchen table. But if you don’t take care of your bag, it becomes a full-time filthy thing.
Stay Hydrated at Every Level
With all that pumping action, you don’t want to dry out. Staying hydrated helps your skin maintain its natural balance, not to mention keeping you from passing out mid pull-up. So keep that water bottle handy to replenish that water that you are losing. And make use of a gel moisturizer for oily skin to ensure that the skin is able to hang onto what it needs.
Staying in shape isn’t necessarily a comfortable journey. But rounding off your routine by taking care of the skin that houses all those muscles and tendons can go a long way towards enjoying the results of your labor without the irritation of an acne flare-up.