Skin Care Tips for Active Women and Athletes

Active woman stretching outdoors

Do you sweat for a living or rigorously exercise regularly? Whether you’re a professional athlete or someone who loves to sweat, it’s important to develop a skin care routine that works as hard as you do. When you do, you’ll maintain your post-workout glow all day long. 

As an active woman, you may need to take a few extra steps to protect your skin during and after workouts. So how can you get all the benefits of sweating and take care of your skin at the same time? The tips below will help you whether you’re breaking a sweat outdoors or in the gym.

What Sweat Does to Your Skin 

The human body has between two and four million sweat glands. Many people spend time figuring out how to avoid sweating; however, sweating is a normal and healthy function of your body. There’s also something to that post-workout glow. Sweat can truly make your skin glisten! 

And there’s no doubt that it simply feels good to break a sweat while working out. 

Your body sweats to regulate its core temperature. Sweat pushes heat out of the body and helps you cool down. It also moisturizes the skin and helps its surface cool off. While there are some skin benefits of sweating, it’s important to remember that impurities can exit your body while you sweat, which can lead to irritation and blocked pores if sweat sits on your skin for too long. And since sweat is wet, it can also create a breeding ground for bacteria on your skin. 

Before Your Workout


Hydration is essential to keep energy levels high as you exercise and maintain healthy skin. Ideally, you will stay hydrated all the time and especially before you work out. It is also very important to stay on top of your fluids intake during your workout and afterward. 

If you want to drink something besides water after a workout, choose something that provides electrolyte replenishment.  Sports drinks can contain a lot of sugar and other harmful ingredients. Read the label before you reach for a sports drink, or choose a more nutritious option like coconut milk to replenish electrolytes. Or better yet, drink water and add The Spa Dr.® True Hydration Drops, an electrolyte blend designed to support rapid nutrient replenishment before, during, and after physical performance. 

Skip Makeup 

It’s natural to want to look your best. However, working out in heavy makeup is a bad idea. Your pores need to be able to breathe when you exercise. While you’re sweating, your body pushes the impurities in your skin out of your pores. As your pores open up during a workout, that layer of makeup on top of your skin can block pores and cause acne. It can even cause miliaria – small itchy bumps on the skin that occur when the skin can’t breathe properly. Skip the blush, skip the foundation and powder, and use tinted sunscreen if you can’t bear to go without coverage. Be even more confident in your skin when you learn how to look your best without makeup!

Cleanse and Moisturize

Your skin is a safety barrier that protects the inside of your body from pollution, pathogens, bacteria, and more. Give your skin extra help by cleansing and moisturizing before your workout. Cleansing removes impurities while moisturizing locks in hydration (especially important in cold environments) and keeps pollution particles out. 

Apply Sunblock 

If you prefer being active outdoors instead of in the gym, don’t forget the sunblock. Apply a zinc oxide-based sunblock on your face and on exposed areas of the body. Many sunblocks contain harmful chemicals that can be absorbed by your skin. In July 2021, several well-known brands voluntarily recalled their sunscreens because independent testing discovered they contained benzene (which has been linked to cancer). This is another reason to be diligent about the sunblock that you choose to use! Want more information about ingredients to avoid? Learn more in Clean Skin from Within.

If you are outdoors for many hours of the day, take extra caution and apply sunblock every two hours. If you are swimming or sweating, it is even more important to reapply. If you can, stay out of direct sunlight for extra protection. 

Protect your lips by wearing a lip balm with at least 15 SPF. In addition, lip balms contain emollients that create a barrier to seal in hydration. This barrier helps protect against the elements.

Wear Protective Clothing and Accessories

While working out outdoors, it is essential to protect your body from the elements. Plus, when you’re sweating, your skin needs to be able to breathe. With so many options today, it is possible to find natural fabrics that protect skin from the sun, keep your body cool, and allow your skin to breathe. Natural fabrics that are lightweight and breathable are the best for your skin, such as bamboo. Bamboo also repels odors, is sustainable, and is a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 50+ fabric. A cotton blend is another good choice because it is gentle on the skin and breathable. 

And don’t forget about protective accessories like visors, baseball hats, and sunglasses. Choose what fits your activity the best when you can.

If you are getting active outdoors in a cold and windy environment, it’s important to take other steps to protect your skin from the elements and prevent windburn. Windburn actually feels similar to a sunburn. It causes redness, tenderness, and dryness. One of the easiest ways to prevent windburn is to wear the right clothing. Dress in layers and cover as much skin as you can by wearing scarves, a hat, gloves, sunglasses, and a long-sleeved top and pants.

Wearing protective clothing outdoors not only protects skin from the sun, but also from pollution. Air pollution can accelerate signs of aging, trigger skin conditions and allergies, and cause irritation. When combined with sun exposure, skin issues from pollution are even more intense.

Gym-Specific Skin Care Tips 

Avoid Touching Your Face

During any fitness session, it’s important to avoid touching your face. And when you’re in the gym, you are touching exercise equipment used by many other people. This makes the gym a hotspot for bacteria and fungi that cause skin infections and other conditions. Avoid touching your face to eliminate the risk of bringing bacteria in contact with your complexion.

Sanitize Gym Equipment 

Unfortunately, not everyone will have the etiquette to wipe a machine down after they use it! Bacteria lurks on machines, weights, yoga mats, bikes, treadmills, and other areas in the gym. Some of the most common skin infections you can catch at the gym include athlete’s foot, plantar’s warts, and ringworm.

Protect your skin at the gym and bring your own wipes, towels, and sanitizers to clean equipment before and after using it. Wipe down equipment before you use it with a disinfectant to avoid gym germs. 

Wear Shoes at the Gym 

Undoubtedly, one of the best feelings after a workout (especially after a long run!) is taking off your shoes. However, it’s essential to resist the urge to go barefoot at the gym. Fungi thrive in moist, dark, and damp environments like the locker room. Keep shower shoes or flip-flops in your gym bag and never walk around barefoot to avoid skin infections.

Post-Workout Skin Care Tips

Shower As Soon As Possible 

When you don’t shower after a workout, your skin sits in a pool of bacteria, dirt, oil, and body fluids. All of these things can affect the pH balance of your skin. This is one reason it is so important to shower as soon as you can after working out.

Another reason to shower right away is that sitting in sweaty clothes can cause acne and rashes. It can also make you feel itchy and comfortable and leads to clogged pores. Sweat can even make some skin conditions worse. If you have sensitive skin, you may experience extra irritation after working out. For example, an increase in body temperature can aggravate skin conditions like rosacea. 

When you do shower, use lukewarm water. Very hot water will cause more dryness. If you prefer a cool shower after sweating, that works too – and it’s highly rejuvenating! Avoid scrubbing your skin while showering, and use a mild body wash like The Spa Dr. CLEAN to cleanse your body and a gentle cleanser on your face. After showering, avoid rubbing your skin harshly. Pat it dry with a clean towel instead.

What should you do if you can’t shower right away? Change your clothes, wipe the sweat off of your body, and cleanse your face. 

Replenish Skin Moisture

When your skin is still slightly damp, apply a natural body moisturizer like The Spa Dr. HYDRATE that contains natural oils to replenish the skin’s natural barrier. Avoid moisturizers with synthetic oils and choose oils such as argan oil, pomegranate seed oil, and almond oil instead. Your skin will thank you, especially if it is extra hydrated after being exposed to chemicals in a swimming pool, wind, or the sun. 

If you are in a cold environment, your skin will be even drier. To add even more hydration back into your skin, apply a body oil before applying your moisturizer. 

The Spa Dr.® Approach

At The Spa Dr.®, our approach is to help shine the light on skin care information and offer our guidance to nurture your skin care journey. We believe we provide information that will help support your self-care and healing, and we want you to feel safe and cared for within our community!

The Spa Dr.® offers natural skin care products that are safe and free from chemicals and toxins that can harm your skin and health. Our products are formulated to contain key nutrients in their pure and active form in order to provide optimal results. In addition, our products are pH balanced towards mild acidity to promote and protect a healthy skin microbiome.

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