A 5 Step Post-Workout Skincare Routine

After you work out, the first thing you should do is remove the sweat. Many people worry that sweat will clog your sebaceous glands or “pimple pores,” but sweat is not created by the same pores that secrete oil. Sweat is created by the sudorific glands, and so, it does not have a large propensity to clog the pilosabaceous unit. However, it can irritate acne or cause an inflammatory response (i.e a break out) upon drying, crystallizing, and remaining on the skin. It can also obstruct your sudorific pores and cause rashes like milaria rubra. For that reason, the first thing you want to do is remove the sweaty clothing and the sweat so it doesn’t cause irritation or acne on sensitive skin. 


Step 1: Remove Sweat.

If you’re on the go and unable to shower, makeup wipes might definitely come in handy. Make up wipes are for emergencies only, and they are solely to prevent sweat build up and crystallization. 

CleanSkin Club Wipes -$14.95 

These are extra-large, fragrance-free wipes. If you’re not able to shower, these work well to remove sweat and prevent build up. 

Once you finally get to a shower, you’ll want to use a gentle body wash.  If you’re wearing sweaty clothes for an extended period of time, the sweat and bacteria can irritate your skin. Bacteria can also get trapped within your skin folds, but probiotic cleaners use a unique combination of fermented bacteria and essential oils that create bio-detergents. Bio-detergents are wonderful because they effectively break down post-workout grime without killing all of your skin’s bacteria.

ZITSTICKA Silkshake Bodywash -$25

To date, this is Cassandra’s favorite body wash. It’s nourishing, and it’s a probiotic cleanser that protects the skin’s microbiome. 

Seen Skin & Haircare $29 

Especially if your skin is already irritated by sweat, some types of shampoo drip down and cause breakouts on the shoulders and upper back. So, this shampoo is sulfate-free, gentle, and has a low likelihood of clogging pores. Also, given that active people wash their hair more, this shampoo is not drying. If you swim, however, you might need a little bit more hydration and sun protection.

Step 2: Go in with actives.

A 2013 study states that “higher skin surface pH and hyperhydration of the stratum corneum (top layer of the skin) and increased lipid content on the skin’s surface are probably caused by an increased sweat production (Lubberfing; Kerscher, 2013). More simply, exercise-induced sweating may lead to oilier skin with a higher pH. Therefore, it’s helpful to go in with a toner after you cleanse. The right toner can help remove any residual post-workout debris, oil, and they can also help restore your skin's pH level. Please note that going in with a toner is not necessary, but if choose to, applying an exfoliating one at night is a great choice. After you get out of the shower, and the skin is damp, products can penetrate on a deeper level, and toners with exfoliating actives help to doubly enhance the penetration of a product. 

The Isntree BHA toner is one of Cassandra’s favorites. BHAs are oil-soluble and break up the oils and lipids from working out. This is one of the most gentle toners that Cassandra has ever used, and this one is especially optimal for normal to dry skin with acne. 

Isntree BHA toner - $19.66


BYBI Daily Glow Tonic -$16.99

This toner is also good to use during the day, and it’s more for oily skin. 

Pyunkang Yul Essence -$11.69 


This toner works well for irritated skin.

Step 3: Apply a vitamin C and sunscreen

Using sunscreen protects us from ultra-violet rays, and applying vitamin C beneath a sunscreen can keep free radicals from damaging the skin. Sunscreen sets best on dry skin so it can form a protective layer. Also, it’s beneficial to use a mineral sunscreen pre-workout because it won’t drip into your eyes.

CCC Ferulic Serum Perricone MD - $159 

This is the cruelty-free version of the Skinceuticals ferulic acid. It is combined with a vitamin C ester so it’s less irritating, and it penetrates better than L ascorbic acid. Ferulic acid also boosts other antioxidants like vitamin C.

TruSkin Vitamin C -$19.99 


This one is more liquidy, and it doesn’t absorb as well as the ferulic serum. In addition, you can apply this one at night because vitamin C helps repair the skin while you’re not exercising outside.

Step 4: Lock in Your Actives

Dr Sams Body Lotion -$36

This makes your skin feel soft, but it doesn’t leave you feeling sticky. If your have to get dressed right after a post-workout shower, this lotion absorbs well and won’t stick to your clothes. While it’s not too thick, it does create protective barrier that locks in hydration. If you have a dry patch, you can use a prescription or vaseline to further lock in hydration. Additionally, if you have eczema, you may want to use something other than lotion.

Solimo Jelly (Cruelty-Free Vaseline)  - $1.29

Step 5: Stay Hydrated and Replenished

Your nutrition levels impact the entire body, and it’s important to properly replenish the body so that it can maintain the skin.

Hydration multiplier -$23.49

These are little flavored drink packets that make water taste better. They come in travel-size packets so they’re actually easy to take with you on the go. These hydration multipliers have sodium-potassium, glucose, and water that help rebalance the body and to replenish the electrolytes that you’ve used during the workout. Electrolytes help conduct electricity when mixed with water, and they help cells to regulate pH levels. They can help your skin to retain water, and over time, they can help ingredients like vitamins and ceramides perform better in the skin.

Pique Vitamin C -$58

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that supports normal growth, development, and helps your body absorb iron. Vitamin C is a cofactor for collagen. So, making sure that this is in your diet is important for skin health. 

Athletic Greens -$99

Sometimes, after a workout, it’s hard to digest food, and it’s best to refuel with things that have fructose. After a workout, you’ll want to fuel up with simple carbs. Complex carbs are best eaten at other times because they are slightly slower when it comes to digestion. Failing to fuel properly post-work out can really push your body, and in turn, cause your skin to repair more slowly and likewise have less of a glow.

For a video explanation on a post work-out routine, click here.