The Workout: Hot Yoga
Sneaky Skin Issues: Redness and Brown Spots
If you have rosacea - a skin condition that causes redness and a bumpy texture - or are prone to broken blood vessels, beware: Extreme heat combined with excessive sweating can cause inflammation, making these conditions worse. “In some cases, it could permanently dilate capillaries,” says Dr Frank. Other problems that occur: dark spots and melasma (aka larger dark patches). While research is limited, some doctors (including Dr Frank) believe that heat can stimulate the pigment-making cells.
The workouts: Spinning, Zumba, Dance classes
Sneaky Skin Issue: Irritation
Aside from guzzling water, the thing you’re most likely to do during a drenching, high intensity workout: wipe your skin with a gym towel. Unfortunately, “communal towels are typically washed with harsh detergents and chemicals that can irritate skin,” says Dr Frank. They are also notoriously coarse and can strip the protective layer of skin, so anything you put on your face afterward could result in redness, says Dr Hale. Once again, it’s best to bring your own…and if you forget, gently blot (don’t rub) with the free ones.
The workout: Swimming
Sneaky Skin Issue: Dryness
Chlorine can rob skin of its natural oils, leaving you dry and itchy. Post-swim, always wash with a gentle cream cleanser and follow with a basic lotion made with ceramides (try CeraVe Moisturising Cream), which rebuild the protective layer that chlorine strips.
The Workout: Running
Sneaky Skin Issue: Sagging Skin
“I can spot a serious runner just by looking at her face,” says dermatologist (and marathoner) Dr Elizabeth Hale, who defines serious as logging 40km a week or more. Blame the literal pounding of pavement, which results in “runner’s face”: a loss of volume in the temple and cheek areas that eventually leads to sagging. “The constant force causes micro-tears in collagen that compound over time,” says Dr Hale, who notes there’s a genetic factor too. And if you run outdoors, the UV exposure - a proven collagen killer - doesn’t help. So what does a long-distance- running doctor suggest? Prescription retinol (“the ultimate skin smoother,” she says) followed by a firming cream with collagen-stimulating peptides (Dr Hale uses Olay’s Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream) and possibly fillers down the road. Also SPF 30, which, for those who take it outside, is as vital as a good pair of runners.
The Workouts: Boxing, Boot camp, Crossfit
Sneaky Skin Issue: Breakouts
Shared equipment - gloves, mats, weights - can be a hotbed for bacteria. When possible, BYO and wipe down weights (or anything else that’s shared) with an antibacterial towelette (travel-size packs were made for gym bags). Most important: “Avoid touching your face during your workout,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Paul Jarrod Frank. Wiping away sweat with a germy hand may seem harmless, but it can cause acne or, worse, spread cold sores and skin infections.