8 Tips to Avoid Post-Workout Breakouts, Dullness, and Irritation


You’re taking care of your health. You’re going to the gym. But there are a lot of people there, and what if you have something on your face that you want to cover up? Whatever it is, it embarrasses you, so you cover it up.

Problem is, the makeup you’re using to look good while working out could be making your skin look worse.

Even if you don’t wear makeup while you’re walking, running, or spinning, if you don’t take the proper steps before and after your workout, you could end up with breakouts, dullness, and redness a few hours later.

You don’t have to sacrifice great-looking skin just because you want to stay in shape. With a few healthy habits, you can workout to your heart’s content and walk out with smooth, glowing skin!

Wearing makeup while you’re working out can be horrible for your skin. Try these tips instead.

Why Makeup is a Bad Idea

When you exercise, your pores open up to allow sweat to come through, which lowers your body temperature and keeps you comfortable. The problem is that anything sitting on those pores can block your skin’s ability to breathe, and is also likely to sink into your skin, increasing the risk of breakouts, irritation, and redness.

Remember that your skin is part of your body’s detoxing systems, and that as you exercise, your sweat helps carry waste products out of your body. Clogging up pores with makeup can interrupt this process, and rob you of some of the detoxing benefits exercise provides.

Going to your workout with dirty skin? You’ll likely suffer breakouts a few hours later. Going to your workout with makeup on your face? You could end up pimples, irritation and dullness. In addition, most makeup will run once you start to perspire—not a good look for anyone. Even waterproof mascara can run and get into your eyes, causing tearing and blurry vision.

Tips to Emerge from Your Workout Beautiful

There is a saying that the best makeup is beautiful skin. Try these tips to help your skin emerge from your workout looking great.

  1. Cleanse before: This is especially important for those who go directly from work to the gym. You must take off your day face. Makeup, dirt, sweat, and all the day’s accumulated “stuff” on your skin can sink into your pores to cause breakouts the next day. Use a gentle cleanser to start your workout fresh.
  2. Go bare faced: You can try wearing lighter makeup, but whatever you wear on your face during a workout will contaminate your pores, run, and potentially get into your eyes. Your best bet for healthy skin is going bare, except for maybe your lips.
  3. Highlight your lips: This is one area where you can use a little tinted moisturizing balm to bring some color to your face. (Avoid lipstick or glosses as they can dry out and make you look dull.) Choose a natural formula that you won’t mind swallowing (if you lick your lips while working out) and tuck some into your pocket to reapply after wiping down.
  4. Use a clean cloth to wipe down: We all wipe our faces when we start to sweat, but if you use a dirty cloth, whatever is on it will go right on your skin and into your pores. Use a freshly laundered washcloth or other soft cloth each time you workout.
  5. Wash afterwards: If you don’t have time to shower after your exercise or if you plan to shower at home, wash your face before you leave. Even a short commute gives microorganisms time to get into your pores and start the breakout process. Splash some fresh water on your face and use a gentle cleanser to get rid of bacteria.
  6. Hydrate: After you wash, don’t forget to hydrate with a refreshing, moisturizing toner or light moisturizer. Our Rosemary Toning Mist is great after a workout as it leaves skin feeling invigorated and clean, but soft. Hold off on the moisturizer until you’ve cooled down, and then apply a light formula that won’t clog pores.
  7. Concentrate on the outfit: Worried your lack of makeup will make you look dowdy? Try concentrating on your outfit. Fun, colorful workout clothes can go a long way toward making you feel better about your appearance. A colorful headband can liven up your face, as can a high-collared shirt.
  8. Revel in the natural glow: Exercise benefits not just your body and mind, but your skin, too! Realize you’re doing something great for your appearance by braving 30 minutes to an hour or so without makeup.

Do you workout without makeup? Please share your thoughts.

comments (4 and counting)


Reader Interactions


  1. Rebecca says

    Thanks for sharing. I have been working out lately and I have been suffering with this post workout acne. This would really help me out a lot.

  2. Website says

    Pores, of course! I have never thought of the effect on my skin when I’m working out. I don’t wear makeup whenever I exercise and before heading out for a run or doing a yoga I always wash my face and apply some moisturizer. My simplistic beauty regimen actually paid off. Thank you for sharing this information.

  3. Lenora says

    I totally agree….but when you have cystic, red, acne all over your face with scars….. It’s really hard to just go to the gym baring all….

  4. Yoges says

    Dearest Ann Marie

    Such a perfect article..I was just deciding to go without makeup for a while as I am trying to cure my acne breakouts now. I used to feel guilty about going to my yoga classes without makeup sometimes but I don’t anymore…

    Thank you loads!!
    Such sensible advice!


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