Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NO SWEAT: What happens when sweat dries on your skin?

Rinse the sweat off your face immediately after exercising.
Any time you sweat, especially from exercising, your skin is eliminating acids and toxins from your body. These are things you don’t want to allow to dry on your skin.

When you are exercising outside, you’re wearing sunscreen (I hope). So it’s not only sweat that is going to dry on the surface, but also sunscreen. This can not only cause irritation but congestion as well. It is imperative that you don’t let this mixture dry on your face. If you do, all the toxic junk sitting on your skin’s surface will cause the potential for irritations, tiny bumps (I see this a lot), and small whiteheads under your skin. These problems commonly show up where the sweat drips—the sides of the neck, under the chin, and around the temples.

If you are away from home but have access to water, great. Splash-rinse your face until you have removed all the sweaty residue off your skin. Then as soon as you get home, be sure and do your Basics routine (cleanse, tone, hydrate). Many of my active clients see a definite improvement in their skin after they use this splash-rinse method.

Sometimes you may be out exercising where you don’t have access to water, yet you’ve got to get the sweat off your skin. If you cannot rinse your face, I am going to propose something to you that is not a great practice by any means, and certainly is not the optimum. However, the way I see it, it’s the lesser of two evils.

After exercise that causes sweating (especially heavy sweating), and before the sweat starts to dry on your skin, use an individually wrapped moist towelette, facial cleansing cloth, or baby wipe tissue. Go over your entire face and neck, the back of your neck, and especially the sides of your neck. Keep in mind, this is only temporary until you get home where you can properly clean your skin with good products. These towelettes can have harsh ingredients in them (sometimes alcohol), but I believe it is better to get all the sticky, sweaty junk off your skin rather than let it dry on your face.

You will almost always have access to water, which is the best way to get the sweat off your skin. So the moist towelette route would be the least-preferred way to go. I am not advocating their use all the time or even frequently. But if you have no other recourse (other than letting the sweat dry on your skin), use a towelette.

Keeping bottled water in your car is one way to ensure you will always be able to splash-rinse after exercising. Even if you’re far from home (and your cleanser), at least you can get the sticky goo off your face and get home without causing the potential for breakouts. Keep in mind, you are rinsing everything, including sunscreen, off your face. Your skin, therefore, is totally unprotected. Running errands or otherwise being exposed to the sun is not recommended. Get home, clean your face, and apply sunscreen before going back outside.
UPDATE: 5/2015
Yonka (the product line I use) just came out with a waterless cleanser, which is something that could be used to remove sweat from your face instead of the facial wipes. I have many clients who have purchased the travel size of this cleanser to keep in their gym bags or cars (along with cotton pads) so when they are finished exercising they will have access to a good-quality cleanser right then and there. Obviously, this cleanser along with the baby-wipe method are just temporary fixes until you can get to your skin care products at home. However both methods will keep the sweat from drying on your skinand that is paramount.
For more information, see: