The Big Mistake You Make With Skincare After You Sweat

Ohen I’m really sweaty, whether I’ve just finished an intense training session or been outside in a heat wave, I notice that my skin is more sensitive. Even after showering, the skincare products I use every day tend to sting a little more than usual, and my complexion is irritated. Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, explains that’s because sweat is an irritant and can temporarily sensitize your skin. So if you use too strong products too soon after sweating, they are more likely to cause irritation.

“Sweating in and of itself isn’t bad for you — sweating is normal. There’s a reason you sweat, and it provides physiological benefits,” says Dr. Garshick. But if left on your skin for too long, the sodium, urea, and lactate in sweat can cause irritation. “Due to some irritation to the skin, it may be more sensitive to sensitivity. If the skin seems a bit more reactive or in a somewhat heightened state of reactivity, it’s possible your routine is more irritating than d ‘habit. .”

Although it seems counterintuitive, the solution to this problem does not involve thoroughly cleansing your skin.

“We want to make sure that the skin has undergone some type of cleansing, but you don’t need to make sure that all the residue is removed,” says Dr. Garshick. “It’s often best to stick with milder cleansers that will effectively get rid of buildup, oil, dirt, debris and stuff like that sitting down, but still be gentle on the skin. .” This also means that you should massage the cleanser into your face carefully – don’t rub vigorously.

Dr. Garshick is a big fan of CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($15-$18).

“This gentle cleanser is a great option, especially for people with dry skin, as it contains ceramides to help strengthen and support the skin barrier as well as hyaluronic acid to boost hydration,” explains the Dr. Garshick. “As a result, it cleanses effectively without stripping skin of its natural oils, so skin will still feel nourished even after cleansing.”

Once you’re clean and ready to apply the rest of your routine, make sure your skin is completely dry before using potentially irritating ingredients, like glycolic acid or retinoids. Not only will this help you achieve a more precise application, but it will also prevent the active from feeling too strong.

“When your skin is wet, it can make things more likely to seep in, which can also make things a bit more irritating to the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. “You don’t have to wait 20 minutes, but it can be helpful to make sure the skin is dry before applying certain active ingredients, especially if you experience irritation. This will not only help ensure good efficacy, but it will reduce any associated irritation that goes with it.”

Want even more beauty insights from our editors? Follow our Fineprint Instagram account for essential tips and tricks.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.