- Whether you’re working out, wilting in the summer heat, or just sweat a lot in general, too much perspiration can wreak havoc on your skincare routines, according to dermatologists.
- But changing up your skincare routine can help fight sweat-related issues like acne, folliculitis, and chafing.
- Experts recommending changing into clean clothes as soon as possible when you’re sweating a lot, washing often with a gentle foaming cleanser, and using a light moisturizer to hydrate your skin.
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The hot, humid end of summer is here, bringing with it the dreaded waves of perspiration that threaten to cascade down your body at the slightest provocation, drenching every article of clothing.
Unfortunately, sweating a lot isn’t just a nuisance, it can mess with your skincare routine as well.
Whether you’re someone who always sweats a lot, or it’s just very hot or humid outside, sweating more means you need to take extra care of your skin, according to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital.
“As sweat mixes with oil and dirt, it can build up on the skin and cause a foul odor and can lead to skin irritation or even breakouts,” he told Insider.
What’s more, sweaty clothing, including your mask if you’re in public, can trap sweat against the skin, potentially leading to a plethora of issues.
“We know that when sweat sits on the body for too long, it can attract bacteria and clog pores so if not properly rinsed off, can make someone more prone to breakouts and acne,” explained Dr. Marisa Garshick, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York Presbyterian-Cornell and chief medical correspondent for Certain Dri.
To keep your skin healthy even in the heat or through long workouts, washing with gentle soap, moisturizing with light lotion, and promptly changing into clean clothes can help.
You might need to change up your skincare routine if you’re sweating more
As seasons change, a heat wave strikes, or you start a new vigorous exercise routine, you may want to adjust your skincare routine to how much you’re regularly sweating, according to the experts.
“You often need to switch your cleanser to a foaming or salicylic acid-based product to help fully remove the oil and sweat,” Zeichner said. “The best summer moisturizers are lighter formulas like lotions or gels that offer hydration without weighing the skin down.”
You can also take measures to stop the sweating by using an antiperspirant. In contrast to deodorant, which just blocks the unpleasant smells of sweat, antiperspirant can help you sweat less by plugging up the glands responsible for all that perspiration,
It’s most effective to apply at night, after a shower, according to Garshick, when your skin is clean and dry and the glands are less active.
Athletes can be particularly prone to some skin issues like acne folliculitis
Fitness enthusiasts, who may spend long hours exercise even in the heat of summer, should be especially careful to prevent potential skin issues from sweating, and sweaty workout gear.
Zeichner said athletes can be vulnerable to acne and folliculitis (hair follicles infected by bacteria, leading to red bumps) from a build-up of sweat on the skin.
To prevent these, it’s important to clean your skin before and after a workout to minimise the amount of sweat, oil and dirt hanging out on your skin. Don’t forget to wipe off any makeup before a workout too, Garshick added, since they can also cause irritation after a workout.
How to pick the right clothing, and face masks, for sweaty weather
Once you’re done exercising, you should always change out of your workout clothes as soon as possible, the experts suggest. Too much time moving around in sweaty clothes can also cause chafing, or skin irritation caused by friction. You should also wash workout clothes after each use even if you’re working out alone and don’t mind the odor.
Choosing sportswear that’s light and sweat-wicking can also help, Zeichner said.
In the current pandemic, it’s also important to think of your face mask when working out or otherwise sweating profusely. Zeichner recommends a gentle, unscented detergent to washing face masks.
“Dyes and fragrances can lead to skin allergies and irritation,” he said. “Especially when it comes to fabrics that sit directly on the skin, extra care must be taken.”
Sweating then washing dries out the skin, so find a good moisturizer
Finally, after you’re done washing up post-workout, don’t forget to use a light moisturizer to gently hydrate your skin, according to Garshick (a heavy cream or ointment can feel uncomfortable in hot, humid weather). She recommends Cerave or Cetaphil for your post-shower skincare routine.
“When you sweat and subsequently wash the skin, you remove excess oil from the skin which can leave the skin feeling dry,” she said. “By moisturizing post-workout, you help the body retain moisture and can help to improve the natural skin barrier to prevent further water loss and the skin from drying out.”