Should You Have a Post-Workout Skincare Routine?

31st January 2022

Whether you work out at home or in the gym, a skincare routine is a vital part of your session. It’s easy to neglect the skin when we are focused so intently on our bodies, but it needs special care. Many people believe you should have a pre-workout skincare routine as well. For now, let’s concentrate on what we do afterwards. Your body is looking and feeling good, so make sure your skin is in good shape too.

Why Is a Post-Workout Skincare Routine Important?

Working out and exercise causes sweating all over the body, including the face. When we exercise our body temperature increases, heart rate races and blood pressure is raised. To cope with the excess heat, the body produces sweat. It prevents us from overheating and helps us to keep cool. Sweating also removes toxins. If these are not wiped away they can linger on the skin as bacteria and contribute to blemishes or acne.

Remove Make-Up First

We are focusing on post-workout, but it’s vitally important to remove make-up before exercise. It can clog the pores and cause problems like blackheads and whiteheads. Make-up will also run down your face with the heat and sweat – never a good look. So, get fresh-faced before you start.

Towel-Dry During the Workout

It’s perfectly natural to sweat, especially during a workout. However, when left on the skin, sweat can alter its pH balance. This can cause irritation or itching. To prevent this, use a towel to remove sweat as you exercise. However, bacteria can build up very quickly on a towel. Rubbing your sore face with a grubby towel could cause further problems. It’s best to use a clean face towel each time you exercise. Better still, use a disposable towel that won’t harbour harmful bacteria.

Post-workout steps

Ditch the Clothes

It seems like an obvious suggestion but getting out of your workout clothes ASAP is good for your skin. Workout gear is tight and can trap dead skin cells and oil, keeping it close to healthy skin. This can encourage breakouts on the body, so don’t hang around in sweaty clothing, no matter how cute it looks.

Wash the Face

You probably head straight for the shower post-workout. This removes the sweat while the shower gel you use on your body removes dirt. However, these products can be a bit harsh on the face so it’s more likely you’ll simply rinse your face.

After showering, cleanse the face with a gentle product that cleans without removing vital moisture. Try a foaming face wash or cleansing milk. Choose products without sulphates as these chemicals can leave the face feeling tight. Also, go for a cleanser that complements the skin’s pH level. This is because sweat can alter the skin’s natural pH level and cause problems.

Tackle Redness

The face will appear red for a time after exercising. This is normal and happens because blood circulation to the skin has increased. If it doesn’t disappear relatively quickly, it may be down to irritation or a reaction to a product. If facial redness is becoming an issue, consider changing the products you use or seek medical advice.

Should You Exfoliate?

There are two diverse opinions on exfoliating skin after a workout. Some say that after cleansing, it is best to use a gentle facial scrub. This can remove any last traces of sweat and grime. However, some say that the face is extra delicate after a workout. A facial scrub could be damaging and cause micro-abrasions. If you choose to exfoliate at this stage, make sure you choose a gentle, pH-balanced product.

Apply Serum

Many people think that cleansing, followed by a moisturiser, is all that’s needed post-workout. However, it’s often suggested that applying serum at this stage is beneficial. A serum can help to hydrate the skin. For those with oily skin or acne, a serum can help to reduce the appearance of acne scars and large pores. A further bonus is that serums often feel refreshing on the skin and may help to reduce fine lines. Some serums are specifically designed to absorb oil and provide a matte finish. No evidence of a sweaty workout after this!


Now that your face is clean and fresh as a daisy, apply a moisturiser for smoothness and to keep that post-workout glow. Sweating excessively may leave your face feeling dry or tight so a moisturiser helps retain and restore vital moisture. Use something light that won’t clog the pores. You are working hard to keep your body youthful, so work on your face and choose something that’s anti-ageing. Plus, if you’re heading outside, whatever the time of year, a moisturiser with SPF is a good call.

Don’t Forget Your Body

The skin is the largest organ of the body, and it all needs attention, even when you can’t see it. It’s important not to ignore it by concentrating purely on your post-workout face. Gyms can be party central for bacteria. Therefore, it’s important to shower straight after a workout with an antibacterial product that removes sweat, grime and dead skin. Fungal acne is now a thing in gyms too. Some experts recommend swapping between antibacterial and antifungal shower products to blast any potential baddies. Body acne is uncomfortable and distressing and sadly all too common among gym fans. Your body has supported you through a tough workout so be kind to it in return.


A post-workout skincare routine should be just as important as your regular skincare routine. It’s tempting to rush and get on with the rest of your day after a session. But a few minutes with some carefully chosen products can ensure your face is fit for the day, giving you all over body confidence.


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