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Don’t Break A Sweat - Decoding Workout Skin & Hair Do’s and Don’ts


We are all aware that working out regularly has a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being. Regular exercise and healthy habits make a significant difference in the long run but however, we don’t factor in the health of our skin and hair while sweating it out in the gym or at home. Caring for skin and hair doesn’t have to be an additional chore - there are a number of ways you can sustain a regular workout routine and still maintain healthy skin and hair.

How Does Working Out Benefit Your Skin?

Who doesn’t love the post-workout glow? Working out regularly has immense benefits for our health and of course our skin! 

A good workout not only leaves your skin feeling rejuvenated, but also helps increase the Collagen production that keeps the skin healthy and firm. Exercise improves the overall blood circulation in the body that gives your skin an oxygenated glow. Numerous studies have shown that exercising regularly can help maintain healthy levels of the stress related hormone - Cortisol. Healthy Cortisol levels can keep the stress related breakouts in check and also prevent premature ageing of the skin.

However, taking care of your skin along with your workout is critical to manage all the sweat and dirt that could potentially clog your pores, causing your skin to break out. We have collated a list of pre and post-workout do’s and don'ts for you to follow so that you can reap the benefits of your workout without compromising on your skin and hair regime and ensure their optimal health.

Before your Workout:

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1. Skip the Makeup

Before beginning your sweat session, wash your face thoroughly to remove any traces of makeup. When you sweat while working out, your pores open up and if you are wearing makeup then it can end up clogging your pores which can lead to unnecessary breakouts. For a thorough guide on the importance of double cleansing, read our blog. We can write a line on double cleansing + link the article

2. Sunscreen

If you are exercising outdoors or going for a run, do not skip the sunscreen at any cost! Using a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or more will protect your skin from sun damage. Also, make sure that you apply the sunscreen generously not just to your face but also your throat and back of the neck. We like Dr. Sheth’s Oat and Zinc Mineral Sunscreen as it is specially formulated for Indian skin and protects the skin from UV rays and pollution.

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3. Antiperspirant

To protect your underarms from any kind of bacteria or germs, roll on an antiperspirant before you hit the gym. Keep the germs and bad odour away with Juicy Chemistry’s Organic Deodorant Stick and allow your underarms to breathe while you sweat it out.

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Read more about how natural deodorants help your skin detox and keep it clean here.

During your Workout:

1. Do not touch your Face

Avoid touching your face to wipe off sweat during a workout, especially if you are exercising in a shared space like a gym. Gym equipment and workout mats are a breeding ground for bacteria so as a thumb rule, keep your hands off your face while working out. 

2. Use a Clean Towel

Fight the urge to wipe off the sweat with your hands or rubbing your face against your clothes, it can lead to rashes and itchiness. Use a clean hand towel to pat dry your face and neck. You might want to try a microfibre towel, it is effective in absorbing sweat and excess moisture.

3. Sanitise

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our public life, if you are working out in a shared space then frequently sanitising your hands and equipment is unavoidable. Always carry a hand sanitiser with you and use it before and after your workout. Need help in picking the right sanitiser? Click here.

Post your Workout:

Firstly, don’t ditch that water bottle after your workout, keep hydrating yourself so that your skin can recover.

1. Toner Pads

Another great way to rid your skin of excess oil and dirt is using toning pads, pre-soaked with active ingredients like Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid. To know more about Salicylic Acid, read our blog. This is especially a recommended option for people with oily skin as both these acids restrict the oil production and efficiently take off the sweaty layer post-workout. 

Dromen and Co Green Tea Blotting Paper is an excellent alternative to toner pads. This blotting paper is infused with natural green tea extracts and 100% pure pulp and is specially developed for hot and humid environments.

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For a quick dose of freshness, you can spray on a face mist to rid your face of any excess moisture. We would like to recommend Ozone Signature’s Floral Face Mist to re-energise and give your skin a radiant glow.

2. Cleanse

The first and most important step post-workout is to wash your face clean with a gentle cleanser. Be thorough but gentle, post-workout skin is delicate and prone to micro-abrasions so skip the exfoliants. It's also important to ensure that you wash your face with tepid or cool water, and avoid hot water. The longer you wait to wash your face, the more time you allow all the sweat, dirt and oil to settle on your skin, and higher the chances of unwanted breakouts. Beaumark’s Maskne Gentle Cleanser is perfect for a post-workout wash to keep the acne at bay.


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3. Shower

It can be tempting to skip that shower but if possible, follow up your workout with a good shower. Don’t spend too much time in your workout clothes once you are done, it could give rise to body acne and clogged pores especially if you have acne-prone skin. To know more about body acne, read this.

4. Moisturise

Your skin loses a lot of moisture during a workout so slather on the moisturising after cleansing your face to replenish the water lost by your skin. Moisturising is not just for the face, apply a body lotion or cream on your hands and legs as well. A gel or water-based moisturiser would be ideal for post-workout care but if you already have an oily skin then by all means pick an oil free version. Our pick is Amayra Naturals’ Ghritkumari Face Gel, a gel based moisturiser with a light consistency which easily absorbs into the skin, leaving it hydrated and refreshed. If you feel like indulging, you can also apply a calming and soothing face mask to turn your post-workout routine into self-care time.

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How Does Working Out Affect Your Hair?

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It goes without saying that workout comes with its fair share of sweat and chasing that endorphin rush is definitely a mood lifter. There’s no doubt that your hair and scalp undergo changes when you workout regularly. But, let’s face it, nobody is a fan of hair breakage or the post-workout sweaty hair! If managing your hair is deterring you from sweating it out, we have put together the best before and after workout hair care tips to help you manage your hair better

Before Workout:

1. Hairstyle

Before you start your workout, ensure that your hair is away from your face. Find a hairstyle that suits your fitness routine. If you are doing cardio or high intensity workout then it's best if you can braid your hair so that your hair is firmly in one place and away from your face at all times. If you are opting to do a lighter workout or something like yoga then a loose bun might also work.

2. Hair Accessories

As important as it is to tie up your hair before working out, make sure that it's not too tight. Using a tight elastic to tie up your hair can cause hair breakage so choose your scrunchie carefully. It’s a good idea to use hair accessories like sweatbands and headbands to secure your hair in place and take care of the flyaway sweat.

3. Dry Shampoo

Prep your hair by applying a dry shampoo, it absorbs the sweat from the roots during the workout so you don’t have excessively sweaty and damp hair when you are done exercising. Begin by sectioning off your hair and applying the dry shampoo to the roots, don’t miss the nape of your neck as the area tends to sweat a lot more during a workout. It's worth adding to your pre-workout routine, it saves your time and your hair!  Our pick is Bare Necessities’ Desert Dry Shampoo with its aerosol-free formula that not only absorbs sweat but also oil and dirt from your hair. If you are someone with oily hair, look no further and add this to your pre-workout routine ASAP.

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After Workout:

1. Brush your Hair

Your hair might seem like a sweaty mess after a good workout but it's worth combing out your tresses to evenly distribute the natural oils produced during your workout to hydrate the rest of your hair.

2. SLS and SLES Free Shampoo

When you workout regularly, your scalp accumulates oil, dirt and sweat which needs to be washed off every 2-3 days to avoid oiliness and scalp issues like dandruff. If you sweat heavily while training or have oily hair, you might be tempted to rinse off that sweat and oil frequently after a workout, choose a SLS and SLES free shampoo as they prevent dehydration and are much gentler on your scalp. They are harsh on the hair and known to irritate the scalp. Always wash your hair with lukewarm or cool water. Our recommendation is Faith in Nature’s Avocado Shampoo with its gentle and hydrating formula that revitalises your hair from root to tip. It is packed with antioxidants and Vitamin E that restores life back to dry and damaged hair. Read our guide to help you pick the right shampoo based on your hair type.

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3. Deep Conditioning

Your hair loses a lot of moisture and natural oils when you work out so restoring the lost hydration is important to prevent dryness. If you are working out on the regular, set aside a day or two in the week to nourish your hair with a deep conditioning hair mask. We love Prakriti Herbals’ Deep Conditioning Hair Mask, perfect for a hair spa at home with all it’s natural goodness. The Papaya Pulp, Aloe Vera Gel and Olive Oil, soften and nourish damaged hair. To know more about hair masks, click here.

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4. Scalp Scrub

Balancing the natural oils in your scalp is the best way to maintain a healthy scalp but excess build up of oil and grime can block the hair follicles, not allowing the scalp to breathe freely. Try and cut back on styling your hair immediately after working out and incorporate a scalp scrub once a week if you are exercising on the regular. A good exfoliating scalp scrub or mask effectively removes excess oil while also increasing circulation. Flawsome’s Dense Intense Exfoliating & Deep Cleansing Hair Mask is a must try because of its 2-In-1 action. This multi-tasking mask is packed with Acai Seed Power, Activated Charcoal and Kaolin Extract to deep clean the scalp while Shea Butter, Argan Oil and Coconut Oil deep condition the scalp, leaving behind smooth and hydrated tresses.

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5. Avoid Blow Drying

Post a workout, allow your hair to air dry instead of opting for heat-based drying option. Damp and sweaty hair is sensitive and hence, prone to breakage. But if you are tempted to use the hair dryer then choose the cold setting to dry out your hair. You can use a few drops of serum to detangle the hair and reduce the frizziness.

Wrapping Up

Working out regularly has more upsides than downsides, and sweat doesn’t have to be your enemy. Don’t let maintaining your skin and hair become a barrier to regular training. Caring for your skin and hair doesn’t have to be an additional chore, it can easily be incorporated into your healthy lifestyle by following a few tips and tricks that blend into your fitness regime. 

-Srishti Mehra

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