What Happens If... I Wear Makeup To The Gym?

Is it so bad?
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You probably already know that it’s not a good idea to sleep in a full face of slap.

But what about heading to the gym?

Well, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, it actually does matter whether or not you go barefaced.

“For skin health, it’s best to exercise with your make-up removed,” study author Dongsun Park, from the Korean National University of Education, said.


The study, which involved 43 participants, found that in comparison to the bare skin of gym-goers, foundation-covered skin showed a “greater increase in moisture.”

This could mean sweat doesn’t get as much of a chance to evaporate under the products.

“The findings suggest that using foundation cream during aerobic exercise can reduce skin oil, causing dryness,” the study also said.

“Additionally, makeup can clog pores.”

Dr Justine Hextall, consultant dermatologist for La Roche-Posay, told Women’s Health that conditions like these can lead to what she calls “gym acne.”

“Blocked pores can look white and bumpy where the so-called closed comedones contain oil that isn’t exposed to air,” she explains.

“This blocked pore can eventually become inflamed and this is where you’d start to see papules (red bumps), pustules, and sometimes deeper cysts.”

What if I really want to wear makeup in the gym?

Well, life is just a series of cost-benefit judgments; if you’re OK with risking a few spots, then it should be fine.

Experts also say there are ways to lower your chances of “gym acne” while wearing makeup.

Dermatologist Erin Gilbert told Allure that washing your face with a gentle cleanser before working out can ensure that when your pores do open, the makeup won’t be able to hold onto as much bacteria.

And foundation matters: “Thick, oily foundations or anything that comes in a solid compacts is the worst choice during exercise because they block sweat and sebum from leaving the skin, which in turn leads to blackheads and acne,” she explains.

Instead, seek to spot correct where you can and lay off the thick creams and powders ― though if going makeup-free is an option for you, you might want to give it a try.