Does wearing makeup to the gym really damage your skin?


Whether it's a layer of foundation, a few swipes of mascara or just your favourite bronzer and matte lipstick, just a small amount of makeup makes us look and feel awake and on top of the world.

Sometimes, though, you head straight from work after a jam-packed day and simply don't have the time to remove anything from your face. So many of us are guilty of doing it, including celebs. 

If you, like Khloe Kardashian, dress up for your workouts because it helps you tear down your insecurities, that's great. But you need to know when your pores are clogged, it could lead to further insecurities when those breakouts surface.

We know makeup forms a barrier over the skin, locking in irritants, which in turn can exacerbate redness and irritation, but what really happens when you sweat through that makeup?

We chatted to dermatologist, Dr Nomphelo Gantsho to find out.

READ MORE: We tried 4 beauty products we were scared to put on our faces

"A layer of makeup interferes with the way the skin works to regulate body temperature, trapping sweat – which contains toxins and other waste materials – against the surface of the skin," says Dr Gantsho.

"Wearing makeup to the gym will trap so much rubbish against your skin that you’ll end up making it look duller.

"More importantly, makeup forms a barrier on your skin covering your pores and when working out, your makeup mixes with oil and perspiration, which in turn congests your skin and prevents those pores from being able to release sweat," she adds.

Even more concerning is that during your workouts, your hands touch gym equipment – which is the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that causes acne – and since we tend to touch our face 3.6 times an hour on average (and more during working out), we're only making things worse for our skin.

So here's your answer to wearing makeup to the gym, from KoKo Loco herself:

And remember the root of all (skin) evil: sleeping with your makeup on can lead to environmental pollutants sticking to the skin, causing oxidative stress on the skin and BAM: pimples galore.

Dr Gantsho also adds that sweat-proof makeup does not make a difference.

"When sweat is mixed with makeup (no matter what type of makeup), it creates an ideal environment for acne," she says.

Dr Gantsho gives us further tips on how to get this right.

Cleanse your skin before your workout

Always remove any and all makeup traces before you start. Use a a light makeup remover or micellar water and a cotton pad.

Get this Sorbet micellar water, 100ml at Clicks for R59,95.

Apply a hydrating moisturiser after cleansing your skin

This will ensure your skin remains hydrated and protected.

READ MORE: Where your acne breaks out on your face could be the key to solving your health woes

If you're prone to breakouts, Dr Gantsho says oil-based moisturisers can cause acne, whiteheads, and blackheads and suggests you look for a lightweight moisturiser to help replenish skin instead.

Apply sunscreen if you are working out outside

Look for a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients make the formula naturally water-resistant and provide sun protection from UV rays. This also offer coverage if you have any imperfections and helps to moisturise your skin.

Eucerin sun protection mattifying fluid, 50ml, at Clicks for R220,95.

If you really have to (wear makeup), then opt for a lightweight, tinted moisturiser 

Although you shouldn't dab on any layers of makeup, we know it can be hard not to. And in that case, Dr Gantsho suggests a dusting mineral powder, mascara and lipgloss, but she's strict on the NO FOUNDATION rule.

This is because foundation is more likely to get caught in your pores and cause breakouts, she explains.

Cleanse the skin immediately after your workout

This final step is crucial as you want to ensure that no oil, sweat and bacteria settles in your pores.

The good news is that if you’ve been wearing makeup to the gym for years, there's no need to have a panic attack about long-term, permanent damage like premature ageing – yay! 

Images: Supplied

WATCH: Women go without makeup for a day

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