We’re not ones for focusing on what we look like when we exercise. Yes, of course a great workout outfit is more motivating and incentive for actually making you log out of Netflix and getting off the sofa, but what’s more important is that we drag ourselves to our class rather than how we look whilst doing so. However, that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t, and shouldn’t, be mindful of what’s on your skin when your breaking into a sweat. In fact there are certain products that can help you avoid certain pitfalls that come with certain types of exercise. Trouble-shooting the side effects of exercise if you will. So load up your gym bag with these wonders, exercise and be safe in the knowledge that your skin is getting as much benefit out of your workout as you are.
Your swimming kit
The skin issues: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that exposing your skin to chlorine or salt water on a regular basis will leave your complexion looking and feeling dry. Why? Because chlorine has very strong antibacterial properties, designed to keep the water clean which is no bad thing, but unfortunately at the same time it strips the skin of it’s natural oils and lipids which act like a protective barrier, keeping the skin underneath hydrated and plump. Then of course there’s what it does to your locks. “Chlorine and salt water are a dehydrating nightmare for your hair,” says celebrity hair stylist and educator, Zoe Irwin. “Just as with skin, they strip the hair of all the things that are desperately trying to keep it hydrated and shiny.” However, there are simple steps you can take to stave off the moisture-sucking abilities of the pool or the sea so you can get your laps done and feel, quite frankly, smug afterwards.
What you need: Lets start with your skin. “Make sure you take off all your makeup before getting in the water, then apply a layer of facial oil all over, remembering to take it down your neck and onto your chest,” says Tom Ogden, International Training Manager for skincare brand Alpha-H. “The oil will strengthen your skin’s barrier preventing as much chlorine or salt getting through whilst also giving it an extra dose of moisture, which we all need.” Tom then advises to rinse your face and body with fresh water as soon as you leave the pool or sea to get any chlorine or salt residue off. “When you get in the shower use an ultra nourishing and hydrating cleanser and follow with a really hydrating moisturiser that contains an SPF.” Next your hair. “As soon as you get out of the sea or the pool get under a shower and thoroughly rinse your hair,” advises Zoe. “Clean it with a detoxifying shampoo, which will make sure to get rid of any leftover salt or chlorine that may be hiding at the roots and, if you can, leave a treatment on it for as long as possible. Just slather it all over, twist your hair into a top knot and let it do its magic.”
Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil, Dh218
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk, Dh170
Origins VitaZing SPF15 Energy Boosting Moisturizer, Dh149
Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo, Dh103
Ouai Treatment Masque, Dh150 (for pack of 8)
Your running kit
The skin issues: Whether you’re pounding the treadmill or heading for an al fresco jog, running can cause a few problems for your face. Firstly, there is the impact of all that impact. And according to plastic surgeon Dr Gerald Imber, running is one of the worst culprits for sagging and inducing wrinkles. He believes that the constant pounding, and the reverberations throughout your body, cause the facial skin to pull away from the underlying muscles. “Runners of normal weight have haggard, sunken faces due primarily to a loss of subcutaneous fat.” He continues with “If you watch a runner in slow-motion, you see that their cheeks and jowls bounce around. This constant bouncing causes a gradual destruction of the elastic tissue that keep faces firm.” There is also the issue of UV damage, the primary cause of ageing, can have, which is especially relevant for outdoor runners.
What you need: Thankfully there is no need to hang up your trainers. Instead utilise a double-pronged approach to fight back against any sagging. Firstly, your best weapon of defence is good facial massage. It’s something we should all be doing to encourage blood flow and lymphatic drainage around the face, but even more important for runners. You can either do this when you’re applying your cleanser or a facial oil is great, because the slightly slippery consistency makes it easier for your hands to work around your face. As we’re trying to counter balance the downwards effect that running has, everything needs to be done in an upwards motion. Using your knuckles start by kneading the skin from your jawline up towards your cheekbones. It can feel a bit painful! Next, using the pads of your thumb and index finger, pinch the skin along the jawline and then finish by using the sides of both of your index fingers and doing circles around your eyes, starting at the bridge of your nose, going along your eyebrows and around the socket bone. Investing in a great ant-ageing cream, packed with ingredients that will boost collagen production - the building blocks your skin needs to stay firm - is essential. And finally, you need a sweat-resistant SPF so you know you won’t end up with a sweaty sunblock mix running into your eyes, which can sting!
Caudalie Divine Oil, Dh45
Lancôme Genifique Youth Activating Cream, Dh460
Shiseido Expert Sun Ageing Protection Lotion SPF 50+, Dh213
Your yoga kit
The skin issues: You might think there wouldn’t be much that yoga could do wrong to your skin. And in a way you’d be right, because there are actually lots of complexion benefits when learning to perfect your downward dog. The main one being that yoga increases your blood circulation. “When the skin gets warm, the capillaries and vessels dilate, causing nutrient-rich blood and oxygen to be brought to the cells,” says celebrity aesthetician, Renée Rouleau. For that reason if you put a power-house of a product on your skin before your class it will be absorbed faster and more efficiently then when you’re not yoga-ing. However, with that extra body heat, or if you’re a Bikram yoga fan, excessive heat, can increase sebum and oil production and for that reason you may find that your yoga session brings out your spots.
What you need: Firstly make sure your starting your class with properly cleansed skin, that way your minimising the amount of dirt that will sink in. Next, cocktail together a pump of a blemish fighting serum with an antioxidant serum. That way you’re getting the best of both worlds; preventing breakouts and feeding your skin with lots of nourishment. If your skin feels warm after the class then keep a cooling facial mist in your bag to instantly get rid of redness and drench your skin in hydration.
Sisley Paris Global Perfect Pore Minimizer Concentrate, Dh655
Elizabeth Arden Superstart Skin Renewal Booster, Dh219
Aurelia Skincare Brightening Botanical Essence, Dh204
Your HIIT kit
The skin issues: Whether it’s a military style bootcamp you’ve signed up for or an intense 20 minute YouTube workout from the comfort of your front room, HIIT (high intensity interval training) is all about getting your heart rate up quickly and therefore sweating bucket loads. And whilst sweating is no bad thing for your body or your skin, as it flushes out all the toxins and can rid you of lots of impurities, if you don’t cleanse them off properly they can end up lingering on the surface of the skin, falling into your pores and low and behold you’ve got a breakout.
What you need: Getting your skin squeaky clean and sweat free post workout is essential, and we’re afraid a makeup wipe won’t do here. If you’re hitting the shower then cleanse twice with a purifying wash. If you’re having to dash post class then keep a micellar water - ideally with some antibacterial ingredients - in your bag, saturate some cotton pads with it and wipe all over your skin. If you’ve got time then a deeply cleansing, clay based mask is ideal to do afterwards, that way you make sure your pores are well and truly cleared out. And finish with a swipe of an exfoliating acid all over, that will help close up your pores and obliterate any lingering dirt. If you’re heading out afterwards then make sure you protect your skin with SPF, but if it’s the end of the day then you and your skin can climb straight into bed for a well earned rest.
Starskin The Master Cleanser Foam Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf Cleansing Foam, Dh68
La Mer The Cleansing Micellar Water, Dh420
Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment, Dh320