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Sweat. Pimples. Chaffing. Sunburn. Women who work out regularly have a lot of extra things to consider when it comes to caring for their skin — but with so many skin-care products on the market, choosing the perfect regimen can be a daunting task.
“It is important to choose ‘clean’ beauty products because there are no regulations on what unsafe chemicals can be in a product,” says celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar. “Many chemicals are known to cause cancer and irritation, and some can also be endocrine disrupters, including formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, artificial fragrances and benzene. This is really disturbing because studies show that 40 to 60 percent of ingredients can penetrate the bloodstream.”
Using clean beauty products also gives us a clean conscience — natural products tend to be simple, less irritating and are overall a healthier option for consumers. Plus, they don’t test on animals.
5 Skin-Care Habits for Female Athletes to Consider
Not only do your products matter but your general hygiene and lifestyle habits do, too. Aguilar recommends the following to help minimize skin issues:
- Keep it simple. Before the gym, stick to simple skin-care essentials like cleanser, moisturizer and SPF. Too many skin-care products, especially acid-based products, could irritate your skin when your body temperature rises and you begin to sweat.
- Reduce sweat. Does your sweat tend to gather in just a few spots, say behind your knees, on your neck, in body folds, under your breasts or even between your toes? Dusting a little cornstarch powder on these areas can help alleviate irritation.
- A little dab will do you. Avoid aggressively wiping sweat off your face with rough towels. Instead, opt for soft cotton cloths and pat gently.
- Girl, wash your face. This should go without saying, but wash your face within 15 minutes of a workout. Cleanse with warm water while your pores are still soft because this helps provide a thorough cleanse. Rinse with cold water to bring down facial temperature and tone the skin. If your gym doesn’t provide cleansing stations or you just finished a hike and you have no access to a restroom, facial cleansing wipes can do the trick — but make sure you wash thoroughly when you get home.
- Keep hydrated. Being properly hydrated internally (water!) and externally is the goal. For most people, postworkout skin is slightly sensitive, especially if there was heavy sun or wind exposure. Moisturize with a gentle yet hydrating cream because the skin needs the hydration it may have lost and the soothing comfort of moisture.
Our 10 Favorite Clean Skin-Care Brands
Start your search for clean skin-care products here:
Aren’t we all just chasing the fountain of youth? Enter Yeouth, a skin-care line that makes it easy to avoid the “toxic 12” ingredients — including parabens, sulfates, phthalates, fragrances, mineral oil and formaldehyde. Pair the Vitamin C Facial Cleanser and Day/Night Cream for a perfect postworkout cleanse and surge of moisture. Plus, the brand is dermatologist-approved, and all products are formulated, bottled and packaged in the United States.
2. Caire Beauty
Created by two longtime beauty industry veterans and women of color, Caire Beauty’s formulations are especially aimed at women 40 and older, thanks to its “hormone-defying” approach to aging concerns (sags, bags and skin volume). The cruelty-free and vegan duo of Triple Lift Molecule Mask and Theorem Serum Boost — both with hyaluronic acid — helps smooth, soothe, lift and glow.
3. I-N Beauty
Between the heat and humidity this season, it’s more important than ever to remove the oil, dirt and dust from your face — especially after an outdoor workout. Reach for plant-based I-N Beauty’s Seed Synergy Micellar Water, which not only removes all traces of makeup and excess oil but also cleanses and purifies your skin with a blend of rapeseed and palm kernel plant oils.
Feeling extra grimy? Follow it up with the brand’s Seed Synergy Foaming Cleanser, which includes a blend of antioxidants to help protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
For vegan products rich in natural resources from the Dead Sea region of Israel (the lowest point on Earth), reach for Ahava. Its scientists have designed various mud masks, cleansers, body oils, creams and serums to address specific skin-care concerns. Mineral Mud is made with mineral-rich mud enhanced by active Dead Sea ingredients, while its Dead Sea Crystal Osmoter X6 serum includes 21 essential minerals to lock in moisture and treat visible signs of aging.
Designed to help Black women (and men!) address acne, dark spots, hyperpigmentation and melasma, Black-owned Perfec-Tone has created a three-phase system to help achieve flawless skin. While not all the products are vegan (a couple contain marine collagen), they are teeming with botanicals and are rich in vitamins A, C and E. The Complexion Perfection Set helps reveal a blemish-free and radiant complexion with Spot Treatment to reduce dark spots, Purifying Toner to shrink large pores, and a Refining Crème to reverse signs of aging and create a dewy glow.
As one of the original clean beauty brands back in 2006 — before being clean was even “cool,” — Inika Organic is certified organic, cruelty-free, halal, vegan, and free from such toxic chemicals as parabens, fragrances and silicones. When your hydration levels have plummeted, the brand’s Phytofuse Renew Resveratrol Serum uses 14 botanical oils to bring it back to life — during clinical trials, users saw an impressive 40.7 percent boost of hydration. Since your lips are likely to take the brunt of any outdoor activities that involve sun, salt or wind, make them silky again with Certified Organic Lip & Cheek Cream.
It’s easy to forget about the hardest-working part of your body, but trust us, your feet are just begging for some TLC. Naturally London is a Black-owned business founded by certified aromatherapist Chrissy Cabrera that specializes in foot and hand health. Soak your tootsies in Exhale, a detoxifying foot soak with moringa oil, exfoliate with the Cleansing Enzyme Scrub (the adzuki beans remove dead skin cells and promote circulation), and then moisturize with Nourishing Foot Butter. Ahhhhh, your feet thank you.
New K-Beauty brand Xuyoni has created genderless, vegan-friendly and organic formulas with the planet’s health also in mind: The glue-free packaging is made from 100 percent recycled paper, purchases support 1 percent for the planet, and customers can buy refill cartridges at 20 percent off the original price instead of new, full-priced containers. The Synergy Booster is a toner that balances your skin’s pH, while the Royal Rose Energy sheet masks reduce wrinkles and plump and moisturize.
Are your early-morning workouts leaving you a little sleep-deprived? UpCircle’s Eye Cream with maple and coffee extract will help reduce the appearance of dark circles and fine lines, decrease puffiness and tightness, and soothe your delicate eye area. UpCircle is one of Ulta Beauty’s conscious beauty certified brands, which means it’s cruelty-free and vegan, it uses sustainable packaging and clean ingredients, and it gives back. UpCircle also uses 100 percent recyclable packaging in a glass bottle.
Founded by a nutritionist and naturopath, it’s no surprise that Edible Beauty Australia harnesses the healing power of nature (read: pure botanicals sourced from Australia) to holistically address beauty concerns. Showing even more love to Mother Earth, the brand even participates in a recycling program to collect your empty packaging. Start with reef-safe Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen with SPF 50 (can be applied to the body and face) and then choose the serum formula that best matches your skin’s needs. (We’re partial to No. 3 Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum.)