The Best Skincare Habits for Athletes and Active Lifestyles

If you lead an active lifestyle, then your pores are probably working on overtime. This means more breakouts, constant sweating and shine, and distressed or tired-looking skin. (Not to mention drying or chapping if you’re outdoors in cold weather.) Here’s how to keep a good skincare regimen in between the sweat sessions.

The Best Skincare Habits for Athletes and Active Lifestyles

When we outlined the basic skincare regimen, we told you that it’s imperative to tend to your skin as soon as you wake up, and just before going to bed. It’s these two times of the day when you need to transition skin into its daytime defenses or its overnight restorative efforts.

But what about all those hours in between? And specifically, what about if your lifestyle puts extra pressure on your skin throughout the day? Athletes and active people come to mind: They get up, wash their face, apply a moisturizer, but then, at some hour between morning and evening, they work up a sweat. Maybe it’s gradual, or maybe it’s an intense cardio session. Either way, it demands a significant alteration to one’s everyday skincare regimen.

Now there’s an extra regimen added in the middle of the day, and one that must center on fighting breakouts, controlling oil and sweat, and helping skin recover from all of this activity (in other words, helping it rebound so it looks firm, bright, and healthy despite all the added activity).

To cover all these concerns, here is a new spin on that basic skincare routine, aimed at athletes and active people.

1. Cleanse (gently) as needed

Like everyone else, you still need to cleanse your skin twice a day—morning and night. That is, twice at a minimum. Chances are, if you get sweaty midday (be it late morning, on lunch break, or after work), you’ll be washing it again in the shower. And that’s obviously expected. But what’s important is the type of cleanser you use: Make sure it’s not over drying, and provides a deep clean while preserving moisture levels in the skin. For all the extra washing you’re going to be doing, it’s imperative not to overstrip the skin of its natural moisture, while also flushing away sweat and toxins. Our Purifying Clay Cleanser was designed with people like you in mind.

Clay pulls out anything that wants to clog the pores, while its mineral-rich base preserves your skin’s moisture levels. We also included cica (aka tiger grass) and cactus extract, which help calm irritation and soothe the skin—something your sweat-dripping mug probably appreciates.

2. Choose a lightweight SPF moisturizer

UV rays don’t take a cheat day. Any time you spend outdoors—even at the height of winter—makes you susceptible to their skin-aging effects. But if you’re exercising outdoors, you don’t exactly want a goopy face sunscreen, since it will wear heavily on the skin and lead to excessive sweating. Instead, pick a lightweight SPF moisturizer, with SPF 30 or higher. Apply it before every outdoor exercise, and before any milder outdoor errands and activities. It will deliver maximum SPF defense for two hours. Cardon’s SPF 30 Moisturizer absorbs on contact and makes for a lightweight, heavy duty shield against the sun—and not against your pores.

3. Take mild, short showers

One thing athletes experience is significant changes in their heart rate. This is also often paired with a frequent change of temperatures and environments during and after any workout (be it the cool gym, versus a hot day outside, or going from the gym to a bundled-up coat). All of this can complicate your skincare regimen post-shower, since your body is spending so much time heating up and cooling down. The result issweat, and lots of it, all over the body. One way to mitigate this is to allow your body to cool down after a workout—perhaps showering at home, not at the gym—and then taking a short, mild-temp shower. Do your cleaning up, but then step out and let your body finish cooling down, and for your heart rate to slow. It will make your post-shower application of moisturizer much more effective, and will keep you from accumulating dried-up sweat inside your pores.

4. Budget time to air dry

In tandem with the previous tip, try to fully dry off and cool down before applying any moisturizer. This is easiest if you’re at home, where you can starfish on the bed and just relax while it all dries. Any application of moisturizer or other products immediately after a workout + shower will be met with excessive sweating, potential pore clogging, and successive breakouts. Just let it all calm down before you apply the requisite daytime or nighttime moisturizer.

5. Shave and exfoliate in the evening

Whenever you incorporate shaving and exfoliating into your regimen (and we recommend twice a week for the latter), do so in the evening, after cleansing. Exfoliating helps buff away dead, dry skin cells, in turn letting the healthiest, brightest ones come to surface. It prevents those dead cells from blocking pores, too, which minimizes breakouts. Exfoliating is especially good to do before a shave, since it can lift away any dead skin (to prevent clogging in the pores, and to minimize razor drag), while also helping to lift the whiskers into prime shearing position.

Doing these abrasive things with your bedtime regimen is important because your skin already endures a lot during the day, particularly with all of the sweating it’s doing. (That’s magnified if you’re an outdoor athlete; you’ve probably noticed sweat burns on your face before, when it dries in the sun.) So, since your nighttime regimen focuses on recovery (which we’ll get to soon), your skin is given an immediate runway to rebound from the razor blades or the exfoliation. You should wake up in the morning looking fresh faced—after finishing your nighttime regimen with nourishing hydrators like those two found in our Oily Skincare Set. It might even be worth using a Cactus Soothing Face Mask after the abrasion, to cool and calm the skin before you blanket it in moisturizing creams. Learn more about sheet masks here!

6. Prioritize recovery

This recovery process in #5 is one of the most important parts of your skin’s day. When you rest, your skin does all of its own healing, regenerating, rebounding, and so forth. So, by plumping it full of recovery-focused products (like that face mask, and the nourishing Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer), you give it the tools it needs to work double time on keeping your skin balanced and clear. As an active person, you unknowingly put a lot of stress on your skin, too, through excessive sweating, overwashing, sun exposure, and more. A good night’s sleep, paired with a thorough bedtime skincare regimen, is the recipe you need to keep your skin as healthy as possible. Then, wake up, rinse (with cleanser!) and repeat the above steps. Your skin will be ready.

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