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How to Care for Your Skin at the Gym, as Told by a Facialist and Personal Trainer | maison ito

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Photo Jonathan Simkhai X Carbon 38

Creating a new exercise plan can be exhilarating. We tend to buy new fitness gear and pencil in the hottest spin class, thinking of all the wonderful ways to work out. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the gym, you at least understand the importance of breaking a sweat from time to time. But like any change in life’s many routines, it can shake up the way our skin behaves.

That’s why Emilie Celine, the skincare expert behind Maison Ito salon and physical trainer, is sharing her top skin tips. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or just your favorite HIIT class, here are the best ways to take care of your skin before, during, and after a workout — earmarking some of our favorite products along the way.


#1 Begin with a bare face

Remove any and all makeup before you start. Your skin should be able to breathe and have an easy exit path to flush out any unwanted toxins. For men and early morning exercisers, try our favorite pre-workout skincare: A splash of cool water to wake up the skin, a quick pat dry, followed by ISDIN lightweight daily moisturizer with SPF 50.

If you’re in a rush: Try Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water. The Micelle technology (small molecules surrounded by water that attract and remove dirt) can help cleanse your complexion without the need to rinse in the sink. It removes daily impurities and old skincare products that have been sitting on your skin.

#2 Bring your own mat

For yoga and Pilates lovers, consider bringing your own mat or mat towel to class. These studio yoga mats are often reutilized by many students and contain unwanted bacteria. If you don’t enjoy lugging one around, give this DIY yoga mat cleaner a shot: in a spray bottle filled with purified water, add 3 drops tea tree oil (for the antiseptic and antimicrobial properties) and 3 drops of essential oil (for a pleasant scent) and voila!

During Workout

#1 Use your own towels

You’ll want two towels, one with the sole purpose of cleaning up your face mid-sweat. This ensures you’re less tempted to touch your face which can spread germs and bacteria onto your skin and into your pores. Use another for wiping down machine equipment (which is often not always cleaned properly after each use).

#2 Be conscious of the tension in your face

We know that this new Crossfit instructor may be stretching your limits, but it’s important to be aware of any clenching or squinting going on in your face as you move. Try to unclench your jaw, relax your facial muscles, and breathe! This goes for both during the workout and cool-downs.


#1 Wash your face

It’s important to clean your skin immediately to wash away the bacteria and sweat residue. Ideally following a shower, use a gentle cleanser. Your skin is extra sensitive after a good workout and prone to micro-abrasions, so it’s best to leave the exfoliation for nighttime. If you tend to turn tomato red, you’ll instead want to reach for calming products with anti-inflammatory ingredients like rose water or chamomile. If you have extra time, add a few spritzes of Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator to your post-workout routine, Maison Ito's facialist new favorite toner.

If you’re in a rush: Make hand-washing a priority (before and after a workout). Antibacterial cleansing wipes or cotton pads can also be a quick fix. Try these Eau Thermale JONZAC BébéBio Dermo-Soothing Cleansing Wipes to help clean up in a pinch and reduce shine.

#2 Change out of your fitness clothes

You may be thinking “these Nike sweats are so comfortable for running errands” or “it’s not a big deal to pick up the kids in these to-die-for Lululemons.” And while they may look great, they’re trouble for your skin. The tight, moisture-wicking attire traps oil and dead skin next to your skin for hours, creating the perfect recipe for a body breakout. So switch outfits as soon as possible.

Recovery Time

#1 Make a post-workout boost

Be it a smoothie or a protein shake, aftercare consists of boosting more than just your muscles. Because store-bought protein snacks often contain added sugars, it’s best to prepare something from scratch.

Our favorite? This vanilla smoothie bowl by Nadia Damaso, Swiss author of Eat Better Not Less. It has added protein for quick muscle recovery plus berries and dark chocolate for a boost of antioxidants (and a touch of sweetness, of course). Getting antioxidants from healthy eats helps increase moisture retention in your face, reduce inflammation, and fight signs of aging.

If you’re in a rush: These no-sugar-added peanut balls by Noshballs for a healthy on-the-go snack. You should also arm yourself with a reusable water bottle with purified water or better yet, no-sugar-added coconut water for refreshment. This will immediately help rehydrate and replenish your parched skin.

#2 Wait before using makeup or fragrances

Your skin acts as the air-conditioner of the body, helping cool everything down post-sweat. We recommend waiting about two hours to cool down before applying your favorite mineral makeup — a lightweight option for covering up redness. For perfumes, aim to spritz on your clothes, not directly on your skin at this time.

Hero Lift Massage – Photo courtesy of Maison Ito

Just like you need a good stretch to undo your tight muscles, your face also needs a structured massage to relax the tense muscles that have crept in during strenuous activity. A facial can release and bring about the fresh glow waiting behind your complexion. The best part? It doesn’t include any hard work. In fact, it’s ultra-relaxing. You can book a facial by visiting Maison Ito newly located in Barcelona.


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