We are told that a healthy body is a healthy mind, but does it lead to healthy skin?
Your endorphins may be skyrocketing, and thighs tightening, but your body's largest organ may be taking a beating. Perhaps you've noticed clogged pores, random breakouts, and redness where previously there was none? Sadly, your workout routine may be the culprit behind your mysterious breakouts.
"When we move more and perhaps more vigorously, we increase blood flow and circulation throughout our body. What this means for our skin is that it gets delivered nutrients and oxygen faster, keeping it healthy in general, but we also sweat more" says founder of The Skin Nerd, Jennifer Rock.
"The nerdy name for our sweat makers is our sudoriferous glands, and these bad boys pump sweat outwards to help regulate body temperature. However, they bring with it the dirt and grime that has been sitting in our pores" she explains.
To battle the breakout, Rock suggests a double cleanse with a pre-cleanse and traditional cleanser before you work out. "Ideally use oil or something that will break down any makeup that you might have on the skin. Then use either a cream or gel; it can be completely preference-based. That will ensure that when you're sweating the sudoriferous don't block the hair follicle, which in turn can lead to congestion or blackheads".
Rock endorses working out makeup-free. However, if you want some extra coverage, try using a mineral foundation powder, as she explains it will sit on the skin, as opposed to in the pore.
"After your workout, your goal is to cleanse your face and get into the shower straight away. We all know how much your skin touches floor mats, barbells and everything else that other sweaty people have touched. Even if you put a towel down, when is the last time you anti-bacterialised the inside of your gym bag"?
However, there is more to skincare than prepping your face, what about that post-workout scrub? Rock endorses a shower gel which lightly exfoliates, particularly if you tend to sweat.
If you prefer to take your workout outdoors, be prepared to slather on the SPF. "The difference for external is that you do need to apply an SPF. It doesn't matter what time of year it is". The Skin Nerd explains an SPF will protect your skin from accelerated ageing, pigmentation, redness, and, the possibility of skin cancer.
If you suffer from post-workout breakouts, Rock says a salicylic acid cleanser will be your saviour. "It's antibacterial, and it's a relative of aspirin, so it's extremely anti-inflammatory, which is important!".
If you are trying to alter your shape quickly she warns stretch marks may become an issue. "You're prone to elasticity if you don't do it in a controlled manner. So again looking at your diet to ensure that you're giving it the nutrients that a cell needs". However, if you do develop stretch marks, Rock recommends using vitamin A both topically and internally, particularly in an oil format.
Unfortunately, the gym wear you choose can also wreak havoc on your skin. Rock finds clients tend to complain of skin tags underneath their arms or chafing. Her advice is to wear breathable fabrics, which don't trap sweat, such as cotton, bamboo and elastane.
Now that we have covered the mechanics, what tools do we need to execute post-exercise skin perfection?
Rock's weapon of choice is a clean flannel cloth or a mitt. "Thoroughly removing your cleanser is equally as important, as cleansing properly. Because a lot of people will just kind of splash and dash as we call it, and then that means that you're leaving the residue of the cleanser on the face. It acts as a barrier and prevents the serum or moisturiser getting into the lower layer of the skin, so you don't get the result you want" she says.
"A serum is a lighter-weight version of a moisturiser, which means it's more likely to penetrate". However, Rock stresses the serum needs to have vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants to maintain a pristine complexion. "Because you can buy any serum, but it might just have water in it. The way people say, but I use a serum, that's like me saying, but I eat food every day, but I could be eating McDonalds. It's about what's in the serum the same way it's about what's in your food that has a purpose".
Rock's core gym skin items in order of priority are - a cleanser, an SPF, and a serum.
We've included a list of Skin Nerd approved products below to ensure you're getting the most out of your daily dose of serotonin: