I began my fitness journey with beautiful, clear skin. Sure, I'd get the occasional cystic breakout, but I managed to keep a pretty good handle on those suckers with birth control and a cortisone shot from my dermatologist every once and a while for the real whoppers. But then I started working out…a lot. My reward? Well, along with a more toned physique, I was greeted with a speckled complexion that made me rethink my daily sweat sessions. As a result, I went from not even taking off my makeup before hitting the gym to having a full pre- and post-workout skincare regimen to keep my skin in check. This is the combo that finally helped me kick my breakouts to the curb.
As a beauty editor, I always tell others not to wear makeup when they exercise because it can clog your pores. But I never practiced what I preached, mainly because I never had any trouble…until I did. Though I can't pinpoint why all of a sudden I started flaring up, it was very clearly related to wearing makeup. I found that if I worked out without wearing any, I'd wind up with less irritation. Once I had that realization, I started booking early morning classes that I could show up to with a bare face. If I only have time after work, though, I always wash my face first. I keep Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Facial Wipes ($10; amazon.com) in my gym bag for a quick removal process. The cloths are black, so they feel a little more luxe and they're made with charcoal, which acts like a magnet for impurities. If I have access to a sink and a little extra time to spare, I like to pair the wipes with Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser ($60; sephora.com). Not only does it smell like a spa and gets me in the zone for a good sweat sesh, the gel-to-balm formula is an all-star at whisking away every trace of dirt and oil.
If I'm in a super rush and maybe didn't do such a great job with removing all of my makeup, I have a saving grace: the Lumion Skin Oxygen Mist + HOCL ($24; amazon.com). I spritz it generously over my face, and the hypochlorous acid it packs kills breakout-causing bacteria. While I'd prefer to go completely makeup-free, it helps me sweat easy knowing that I used it. I spray it on after I workout, too, as a refresher. And I keep one on my desk and use throughout the day to make sure that my skin is protected from environmental aggressors like pollution and sweat.
After my workout, I try to wash my face as quickly as I possibly can. The less time I spend with sweat on my face, the less opportunity there is for a breakout to manifest (at least that's what I tell myself to force myself into the shower rather than get sucked into a Gilmore Girls black hole.) In the shower, I keep Dermalogica Precleanse Balm ($45; dermstore.com), which isn't dissimilar to the Eve Lom—hey, I like what I like! This one goes from a balm to oil, though, and comes with a little silicon mit that I slip on my hand and scrub my face with…