An uphill run, thigh-burning bike ride, or summit-reaching climb should leave you with fierce muscles, not a fear of a brutal breakout.
If you struggle with imperfect skin, it makes sense that the warmth and moisture of sweat can prime skin for blemishes.
But don't be quick to cancel your gym membership—sweat is not the enemy. In fact, a solid workout increases blood flow and nourishes skin cells, flushing debris the inside out. Exercise also eases stress: if you calm the body and the mind you may calm your skin, too.
Instead of avoiding perspiration, use your choice of clothing to manage it. Sport lightweight, loose-fitting attire to give your pores some breathing room. And consider these easy adjustments to your workout wardrobe to prevent exercise acne.
Natural fabrics like cotton do a decent job at reducing moisture and allowing skin to breathe but it’s time to call in the professionals if your sweat is causing trouble.
Most active-wear companies now boast entire lines of moisture-wicking synthetic clothing for head-to-toe relief—the cooler the better for your whole body. These tanks and shorts may look like any other but they’re made specifically to keep you from getting soggy.
Lululemon’s Silverescent line of tees are made to inhibit the growth of bacteria and they’re constructed without bulky seams to keep sweaty skin from chaffing. Nike Dri-FIT includes climate control: patches of special materials that keep you warm where needed and cool everywhere else. REI even carries SmartWool socks for dry, happy toes.
Sweat dripping into the eyes often results in wiping your face with your hands, the corner of your shirt, or best-case scenario—a clean towel. While traditional sweatbands are great at keeping the sweat off your brow, they’re also experts at keeping the bacteria cozy with your pores.
If you’re a major sweater, considering brining an extra shirt to your workout so you can change into a fresh top just as you kick it into high gear. Stash the backup wardrobe in your locker, car, or hiking knapsack. If you’re jogging around the lake, tie a thin shirt around your waist for a quick switch.
A dry shirt gives you and your skin a chance to refresh. You’ll feel lighter, cleaner, and motivated to hit the trail even harder. Always be sure to wash anything that soaked up sweat during your fitness routine, as soon as possible. No one appreciates a hamper that reeks of a locker room—especially your skin.