This is the week I start exercising – for real. But I don’t want my skin to pay the price for keeping the mind and body healthy. So, whether it’s running or free weights, I have gathered these pro pointers to prevent exercise-induced skin and hair problems.
Exercise and sweat can lead to acne breakouts, as grime accumulates in blocked pores. The best way to keep zits at bay is by cleansing with an anti-bacterial face wash before and after a workout. Also wear a headband to keep hair away from the skin and don’t touch the face with your hands as this leads to accumulation of oil and dirt. And, most importantly, avoid wearing makeup while exercising: rising body temperatures and sweat will cause it to seep further down in your pores, making it harder to combat blackheads and pimples.
Exercise and back acne
Tight, synthetic clothes are primary culprits here – wear clean, loose fitting clothes made from cotton or other materials that allow sweat to evaporate easily. Shower immediately after your workout and exfoliate regularly with a brush or konjac sponge.
Exercise and dark spots
Some people develop dark patches on the back where it rubs against the bench when lifting weights. Counter by smoothing on a lotion such as Lubriderm on the affected area before the workout begins. This extra lubrication will help prevent the abrasion.
This is a painful problem that can result from prolonged, regular stints of running. It’s caused by friction when the nipple rubs against fabric, leading to crusty and broken skin that remains painful for days. To avoid, use nipple guards (commercially available spongy pads) or apply a greasy ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor on the area – this will create a protective barrier and reduce friction.
Exercise and skin infections
Sharing weights, benches and other gym paraphernalia increases the risk for bacterial infections, so wipe down surfaces before and after you use the equipment. This is particularly important when you are sitting down and have skin-to-bench contact. And it’s nice that your gym provides towels but you don’t know what’s living in them – better to bring your own.
Exercise and athlete’s foot
Caused by moist conditions and friction in your shoe, athlete’s foot can be avoided by wearing socks made of absorbent material to keep your feet dry. After exercising, wash feet with an antibacterial soap and dry thoroughly. Foot sprays are also helpful in keeping feet dry and fresh while working out.
Exercise and hair
Exercise takes a toll on your tresses by over-stimulating the scalp’s oil glands, making hair limp and dandruff-prone. Wash with a gentle clarifying shampoo and condition immediately after you finish exercising.
PS: With reference to my earlier post on Why Men Don’t Find Fat Women Attractive, please note that I exercise to tone my body and increase stamina. Not because I want to be a size 2 or go “thwap” in the night. What’s the main reason you exercise?