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It’s no secret that the New Year brings an uptick in gym memberships—and if health and wellness are on your resolution list, then you’re probably no exception. Which is awesome…until you start seeing a pretty clear correlation between workouts and breakouts (and you consider breaking your exercise streak for the sake of your skin). 

So we talked to Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology, to learn some skincare best practices for keeping your face and body clear. “As a dermatologist, I see many patients who have acne on the face and body that can worsen from not properly caring for their skin after working out. When you are working out, the sweat, dirt and makeup that wasn’t removed from the face beforehand can cause congestion or worsen acne breakouts,” says Dr. Levin. If this sounds like you, then put the below regimen into practice for healthy post-workout skin.

woman sweating after a workout
Cavan Images/Getty Images

1. Peel Off Those Sweaty Workout Clothes, Pronto

“Removing or changing out of compression tops, leggings or any moisture-wicking materials is important to prevent further occlusion of the skin,” says Dr. Levin. Because of the clingy nature of workout clothes, it’s crucial that you strip them off as soon as possible to prevent the dirt and sweat from clogging your pores any further. Skincare ranges from head to toe, as anyone who has ever suffered from a breakout on their back, chest or other sweat-prone area knows all too well. Dr. Levin adds that “for those who are prone to fungal overgrowths, I recommend cleansing the body with an antifungal soap and antibacterial cleanser like benzoyl peroxide.”

Sponsored foreo face brush with gym bag supplies

2. Cleanse with a Facial Brush, Not Your Hands

While changing into clean clothes helps, Dr. Levin also recommends showering and cleansing your face immediately to wash away sweat, dirt and any makeup that wasn’t removed before the workout, which can all cause congestion or worsen existing acne. The face is often forgotten and only washed with water while showering. But your face needs special care and a deeper cleanse to remove the accumulated buildup or you could be risking the common workout-related breakouts.

Enlisting the help of a cleansing tool like the FOREO LUNA 3 is a great way to make sure your face is getting a deep, gentle clean pre- and post-sweat sesh (it’s just as important to start with a clean face as it is to cleanse it afterward). There are three types of LUNA 3 devices, each one designed for a different skin type: normal skin, sensitive skin and combination skin. Each one is made with soft antibacterial silicone in the perfect texture to combat your specific concern. The brush pulsates 8,000 times per minute to reach into pores and wash away dirt, oil, sweat, makeup residue and dead skin cells, and the reverse side massages and firms skin with routines you can access through the connected FOREO app, making it a great way to unwind before you’re off to the next thing on your schedule.

woman wiping her face with a cleansing wipe
Chakrapong Worathat / EyeEm/Getty Images

3. Swipe on a Treatment

If your face already has some existing acne that’s been aggravated by the sweat, Dr. Levin suggests taking it a step further by applying an acne-targeted treatment. “For acne-prone patients, wipes that contain glycolic acid, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can further prevent congestion and help inflammation.” If you absolutely can’t hit the showers while you’re still at the gym, Dr. Levin recommends using treatment wipes on your face, chest, back and upper arms to get rid of surface sweat and dirt. This will lessen irritation until you’re able to hop into the shower for a deeper clean.

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