If you work out a lot or are just a naturally sweaty person, it’s easy to assume that your sweat is causing you to break out. But it’s only partially true. Although sweat doesn’t necessarily cause acne, if it’s allowed to stay on your skin, it can mix with dirt, grime, dead skin cells, and other gunk to clog things up.
So how do professionally sweaty people keep their skin clear when sweatiness is a job requirement? Below, several top fitness instructors share their favorite skin-care tips and products.
The No-Frills Option
“I learned this tip from Jen Kramer, owner of Corrective Skincare: I put a dime-sized amount on my fingers and then smear my hands together to create an even layer. I then pat it on anywhere I break out. Another key to staying breakout-free is cleansing the face and body after you sweat. I would recommend using an anti-bacterial body wash and making sure you shower after every workout.” —Allie Cohen, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor
The Preventative Serum
“In the mornings, I wash my face and follow it with the Ordinary’s serum. It contains hyaluronic acid, which is great for maintaining the moisture in your skin. Vitamin B5 is also a humectant, and I find it reduces redness and itching. My acne is usually stressed-related, and the amount of activity I’m doing on the daily also affects it. I’m hyperaware of my skin care because I will have a few pimples every month.” —Alexis Dreiss, coach at Tone House
The Drugstore Mainstay
“I didn’t realize until way too late in life how important a good moisturizer is. I always thought moisturizer would worsen acne, but that’s not true. This is light, effective, and I feel like it gives me results which last throughout the day. I also love that it’s affordable. I get a noticeable amount of acne, but it’s way more under control than it’s ever been. When I started teaching, I was so self-conscious of acne or scars that I’d wear makeup to ‘look the part’ more for my classes, which only made things worse. The second I stopped wearing makeup to teach is when I really truly found my voice and stepped up my game.” —Katie Horwitch, coach at Aaptiv
The Hard-core Clay Mask
“I get really bad breakouts at least twice a month. If I work out or sweat throughout the day but do not wash my face immediately, I may have some breakouts along my cheek the following day. At least once a week, I’ll do a bentonite clay mask. These masks are very powerful and I have delicate skin, so I’ll sit with this mask on my face for 20 minutes; any longer than that leaves me with irritation spots.” —Gloria Smith-Chillers, tier 2 trainer at Equinox
The Bedtime Exfoliator
“I deal with breakouts every now and then. A friend recently told me about BeautyCounter, and I love their products. I use this as a base layer before applying my overnight moisturizer two or three times per week. I find that when I wash my face in the morning, I feel so much fresher, and my skin is brighter and smoother.” —Karli Alvino, coach at Mile High Run Club
The One-and-Done Kit
“I suffered from pretty bad acne as a teenager and into my early 20s, but mostly have it under control now. The Fré products are honestly the best products I’ve used to prevent acne. The moisturizer is SPF 30 and water-resistant so it lasts through a lot of sweat and protects my skin from the sun. The cleanser is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, so it prevents post-sweat breakouts. Plus, it has little jojoba beads that feel so good when massaged into the skin; they help remove excess oil and dead skin. The serum helps to lock in moisture and nourish the skin with vitamins and minerals.
To fight acne, I do my best not to touch or pick at my face, and I wash my face right after sweating. I’m also not above putting a little toothpaste on a blemish overnight!” —Rachel Oyama, trainer and CPT at Rumble Boxing
The Doctor-Approved Formula
“Drop every scrub you are using and switch to this one. It exfoliates while adding hydration, so it’s the perfect one-two punch for people who sweat a lot. I use it one to two times a week, though it is gentle enough to use every day. It’s honestly my favorite part of the week — I get so excited to use it, especially because I 100 percent break out from sweating so much. I always try to wash or wipe my face after class, but what a lot of people don’t realize is how dehydrating constant sweat can be. Instead of thinking about extreme cleansing all the time, I also consider the need for extreme hydration.” —Colette Dong, bounce modality lead at Fithouse
If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.