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Nasty workout habits that ruin your skin

If there’s ever a time to be extra cautious about what you touch and cleaning up after yourself, it’s definitely at the gym. To avoid warts, bad breakouts and other unsightly skin infections (ew!), heed these beauty tips from the pros.

Woman wiping face in gym

Don’t sport a full face of makeup

You never know when you might bump into a total hottie at the gym, but is sporting a full face of makeup really worth it if all you wind up with is a face full of pimples? We think not. “When exercising, the body perspires, which eliminates toxins,” explains aesthetician and national director of education for G.M. Collin Skin Care Karen Asquith. “If there is makeup on the skin, then all this waste will remain on the skin, causing irritation and breakouts” (thanks to clogged pores). To prevent unwanted acne, Karen recommends cleansing your skin both before and after a workout.


Don’t get too cozy with your yoga mat

Yoga may cleanse your mind. A dirty mat, however, can transfer nasty sweat and germs to your face and skin. Um, no thanks! That’s why dermatologist and founder of GOLDFADEN MD, Dr. Gary Goldfaden, warns against putting your face directly on a yoga mat unless it is yours and has been cleaned. “Yoga mats can carry bacteria and germs, that can cause your skin to break out if you place your face on it,” he warns. Cecilia Wong, founder and facialist at New York City-based Cecilia Wong Skincare, advises spraying a probiotic toner on afterwards to cleanse pores and kill bacteria.


Don’t neglect to shower after a workout

You didn’t sweat that much so it’s cool to just kick it around the house in your gym clothes, right? Wrong! “Even if you didn’t break a big sweat, walking around in your gym clothes can trap in bacteria and lead to rashes, breakouts and skin infections,” points out Dr. Marina Peredo, founder of Spatique Medical Spa and Marina I. Peredo, M.D., P.C. Dermatology in Smithtown, New York. “Shower as soon as you can after a workout. And if you’re going to use the public showers, steam rooms, etc., be sure to wear flip flops,” she says. “Going in barefoot can lead to toe/foot fungus.” Ick.


Don’t wear too-tight sneakers

Ouch! Not only do too-tight sneakers hurt your poor footsies, they can actually cause some seriously funky fungal infections too. Dr. Paul Kinsinger, a board certified family physician, warns his patients against wearing shoes that are too tight as it causes unnecessary trauma to toenails. “Contrary to what some people think, toenails are not solid,” he notes. “They have tiny micropores that infections can pass through. When sneakers are too tight, toes experience what is called trauma due to friction against the shoe. This tiny bit of trauma combined with the dark, hot, moist environment feet are subjected to often leads to fungal infections.” To play it safe, Dr. Kinsinger suggests buying shoes that fit, of course. And also keeping toenails trimmed.


Don’t wipe your face with your hands

OK, so maybe you’re that girl at the gym who cleans off every machine after she’s done using it (good for you!), but chances are, there were a ton of sweaty dudes before you who definitely did not. To dodge an icky situation, celebrity aesthetician Renee Rouleau recommends not touching your face while working out, especially when using cardio and weightlifting machines. “The machines breed bacteria so it’s best to keep your hands off of your skin,” she says. “You don’t want to introduce bacteria that can possibly result in new breakouts or spread existing breakouts. Always wash your hands before and after working out,” she advises.


Don’t grunt too much

Ever notice how body builders look a lot older than their age? Well, according to Adriana Martino, co-founder of SKINNEY Medspa, it’s partly due to the foul faces they make. “Lifting heavy weight causes you to make a ‘grunting like face,’ which in turn, causes you to over work your expression lines especially on your forehead and crow’s feet leading to more lines and more wrinkles.”

“Remember: It’s OK to smile when you’re working out,” says Cecilia Wong.

More beauty advice

The pros and cons to organic makeup
Did you know? Weird but harmless makeup ingredients
The skin care benefits of rosehip oil

Photo credit: MIXA/Getty Images

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