Active lifestyles require a proactive skincare regimen. And while we’ve already discussed the best skincare tips for active people, sometimes that proactivity can’t save us. That’s because, despite our best efforts, pimples can still happen. Maybe you have to skip a shower, or delay it to run a couple errands on the way home after the gym. Or maybe you do shower, and the constant change of temperature—paired with your high heart rate—is causing you to sweat like crazy, even an hour later. Despite the regimen you just applied, you are now covered in sweat and grime and are all the more susceptible to clogged pores and breakouts.
That’s where the proactive switches to the reactive. Or, if you find yourself repeatedly in this situation, it’s where you add a couple steps to the proactive.
It all comes down to this precious window of time after a workout, and the preparedness you need for the periodic blemishes that slip through. Here, then, are our tips for a post-workout skincare, and the products you should add to your arsenal for it.
The Ideal Post-Workout Skincare Regimen
Let’s first talk about the ideal, consistent post-workout regimen, which will proactively prevent most blemishes and excess sebum production.
1. Cleanse as soon as possible: Wash your face immediately after your workout. Even if you don’t want to shower at the gym, you can toss a deep-cleansing, hydrating cleanser in your gym bag. (Cardon’s cleanser is made with ultra-purifying clay to unclog pores and mitigate oil production; soothing tiger grass and cactus extract to calm stressed-out skin; as well as nourishing Vitamin E to help skin rebound front he workout—not to mention, it totes easily in your bag.)
2. If you shower while your heart rate is up, make it fast and keep the temp low. Try to avoid constant temperature shifts. After a piping hot shower, you’re going to emerge back into the world and start sweating profusely—and through all of your clothes, too. So, make it fast, and keep it cool.
3. If you don’t have a cleanser or wait to shower, then use a face wipe immediately. Pick a soothing, alcohol-free, toning wipe that tempers oil production and balances your skin’s pH levels, while wiping away existing grime and sweat. (Cardon’s exfoliating toner wipes do this while also buffing away dead surface cells to further prevent clogged pores.)
4. Keep wipes ready for after the shower, too. Even if you do have time to cleanse or shower, then keep the aforementioned toning wipes handy. Apply them before your moisturizer to help balance pH levels, prevent excess oil production, and calm down the skin—while also lifting dead surface cells to further prevent clogging. You might need to wait 10 or 20 minutes if you suspect that your body/heart rate will still need time to slow down and cool off.
5. Apply a moisturizer as soon as you are “in the clear”. Applying it while your heart rate is up might yield more sweat, or in the very least, will mean that you sweat it all away. Instead, wait until your body calms down before lathering on the cream. If you are about to walk out into the sun, then you might need to bite the bullet and apply your moisturizer with SPF anyway. (Cardon’s SPF 30 moisturizer is featherlight to prevent clogging and sweating, so it’s an ideal fit for this scenario.) Regardless, you may need to reapply the moisturizer if you end up sweating it off in transition. If so, first cleanse again with the hydrating cleanser (that gentle hydrating element is imperative since you’re using it more often than most people); or wipe with the toning pads prior to moisturizing.
When Blemishes and Oil Buildup Happen—Get These Products
Despite proactive efforts, sometimes you have to switch to the reactive. Here are two products you need to have ready—for the unfortunate “if and when”.
Toner: Toner helps control excess oil production in the skin. It doubles as a gentle cleanser (assuming it’s free of alcohol), and some of the best ones even help gently exfoliate dead surface skin cells.
We mentioned Cardon’s toning wipes before, but we’ll shout them out again: These toning wipes work terrifically in your planned post-gym regimen (outlined above), but are also terrific for the occasions when you keep sweating well after the exercise, or when your pores go into overdrive and turn your forehead into an oil slick. They also balance the skin’s pH levels, which is to say, they create harmony in the skin after it endures all of that sweating, cleansing, and oil production. Lastly, they calm stressed-out skin with cactus and heartleaf extract, and invigorate it with caffeine.
Acne Patches: You can call this reactive in one sense, but proactive in another. Whenever you sense that a pimple is coming—and you often know when it is, from sight or texture—you can put one a hydrocolloid patch directly over the spot. Cardon’s Prickly Pimple Patches steadily send salicylic acid into the blemish, in order to halt its growth and unclog the pore. Niacinamide promotes healing and prevents discoloration upon healing, while cica (tiger grass) calms stressed skin. So, while it’s only a product you apply in response to a budding blemish, it also prevents that blemish from growing big, bad, and burst-y—which in turn can save you months of recovery from the dark spot a popped pimple leaves behind. With these patches, you avoid the popping and enjoy watching it deflate instead. Wear them for as little as 2 hours, or as long as overnight. Pack them for any trip away, too, since you never know when a pimple might procure.