Here’s how I modified the Curly Girl Method.
Download the app
Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
It’s no secret that a great workout is good for your health. It’s also no secret that workouts can sometimes contribute to unwanted breakouts, dry skin, and the appearance of fine lines. While seemingly unavoidable, there are skincare routines you can practice after your workout to keep you hydrated and luminescent. We asked Dermatologist’s Choice founder and award-winning dermatologist, Dr. B, for recommendations for avoiding post-workout acne, preventing wrinkles, and maintaining glowing skin. Here’s everything you need to know.
According to Dr. B, “Leaving excess sweat on the skin can lead to infections and clogged
pores which cause stubborn acne.” So after that hardcore cycling class, the last thing you should do is go straight to lunch without cleansing. “Immediately after exercise, when the face is sweaty and oily, use Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads to cleanse your pores of sweat and oil to prevent and treat acne breakouts and fine lines.” What’s a glycolic peel cleansing pad, you ask? These powerful pads cleanse and remove sweat, oil, and debris that collects on your skin during a workout. The result is almost immediate, and the application is easy. Just store a pack in your gym bag so you can cleanse your face quickly and go get that post-workout smoothie bowl!
Let’s break this down: Glycolic acid is a non-toxic, all-natural, safe-for-all-skin-types alpha hydroxy acid, naturally derived from sugar cane. Dr. B shares, “Glycolic acid penetrates into the dermis (the second layer of skin) where the collagen is (and where the wrinkles are)... Once you get to the second layer, you force the body to rejuvenate the collagen we lose as we age. It takes off a dead layer of skin as well and cleans out the pores. It’s also gentle enough to be used daily and even on sensitive skin. It is the natural, over the counter competitor to Retin-A.” Once applied to the skin, it enters the pores and activates a cell renewal process, breaking down the “glue” holding the top layer of skin together, so that the fresh layer can emerge. When the top layer of skin falls and flakes off, it removes unwanted acne, fine lines, and skin pigmentation. Essentially, you make way for a “new” layer of clearer, brighter skin! That’s pretty amazing.
It should be noted, though, that not all glycolic acid is made equal. “A non-neutralized glycolic does tingle and may cause redness, but it also works,” Dr. B says. “The stinging is because it is an acid. It goes into the pores and takes off a layer of skin…getting the dead layer of skin off looks better. It’s working better if you see mild irritation and/or some redness.” Many products on the market today advertise “pure” glycolic, but in reality, these products are neutralized (made ineffective) because the manufacturers think that the tingling effects of strong glycolic will scare off consumers. The reality is glycolic can’t hurt or burn the skin—it’s completely safe. These neutralized products sound flashy but won’t do anything for your skin. But, when you feel the tingle (like you will with DermChoice products), you’re only hours away from clearer, brighter, and healthier skin.
Showering frequently or after every workout dries out your skin by stripping it of the natural oils and moisture. We are not saying you should walk around with a post-workout sweat smell by skipping the shower post that intense cycling or bootcamp class. But there are preventative measures you can take to make sure your skin stays moist, your body stays clean, and your friends and coworkers stay happy to be around you. Meet Pre-Bath Oil. “I developed the Pre-Bath Oil after a patient with eczema (clinically irritated and dry skin) could not find relief from over-the-counter lotions and prescriptions,” Dr. B said. “The patient told me he applied the oil before entering the shower and experienced relief right away. That’s when I knew we had a winning formula, and I have been recommending the Pre-Bath Oil to all my patients with dry skin ever since.” This easy-to-use product is far more effective than lotion for those who shower daily. Just apply it all over your face and body before entering the bath or shower. This will create a protective barrier on your skin’s surface. Plus, oil penetrates deeper than lotion, so the Pre-Bath Oil will thoroughly moisturize the deeper layers of your skin, soothing dryness and irritation.
Bonus: DermChoice has no parabens and no fragrance. Their products are certified cruelty-free and formulated with natural and organic ingredients—and they actually work. Talk about a win-win!
Want to try it for yourself? Shop now and get 30% off your first order by using code MB30 at checkout!
With so many fitness studios and gyms closing their doors in a bid to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, their members are turning to at-home workouts to fill the need for physical activity. As we’ve mentioned before, there has likely been no better time to prioritize exercise in our daily lives, both for physical and emotional reasons. Luckily, many studios are now recording and streaming virtual workouts so people can take advantage of their offerings at home (Hint: you don't have to just book local, change your location to anywhere you'd like and explore classes all over the world!). But before you move the coffee table and roll out the mat, there’s something you should remember: stretching.
Ah yes. Stretching. For many of us (though we’d never say it out loud) stretching before and after working out feels a bit like that pile of peas your mom made you eat as a kid: you know it’s good for you, but do I have to? The answer, I’m afraid, is yes—and even more so if you’re working out at home. Here are some best practices to help you prevent injury and make sure you’re getting the most of your incredibly valuable workouts.
Remember: any workout—even one done in your living room—is still a workout. If you’re about to do a 45-minute virtual class, don’t just give yourself 45 minutes. You need to give yourself time to arrange your space, get your water, and get your mind right before hitting play or joining that livestream. But you also need to give yourself time to get your body right too, and that brings us to…
Wait, what about stretching? Conventional wisdom dictates that you should stretch your muscles before beginning your physical activity, but mounting research is telling us that may not be such a great idea. Stretching your cold, stiff muscle fibers before they’re warmed up can actually hurt them. And because we're spending so much time at home, it’s likely our poor muscle fibers are tighter now than they've been in a long time.
If you’re following along with a livestream or on-demand workout, there will likely be some sort of instructor-led warm-up. That said, don’t assume that your virtual workout will provide exactly the kind of warm-up that you personally need. Without the trainer right there to keep you accountable and check your form, it’s super important to take steps to protect yourself and ensure you’re warmed up enough to begin.
According to McAlister Training co-owner and head trainer Michael McAlister, “Warming up is as important, if not more important, than the workout itself. Even from home, I encourage clients to warm-up just like they would at our studio. Before every class, I ask clients to foam roll, do hip lifts, and perform trunk rotations as a pre-warm-up. Then, we’ll warm-up together on-screen.”
So before reaching for those toes, spend a few minutes getting your blood moving to the areas you are going to stretch and exercise. A few other great ideas for some gentle (but effective) warm-ups include:
- High knees (or run in place)
- Holding a plank
- Air squats
Once you’re nice and warm, and maybe breathing a little heavier…
Properly stretching your muscles helps keep them long and flexible, improving your range of motion during the coming workout and protecting muscles and joints from potential injury like sprains and strains. But as important as stretching is, you can injure yourself just as easily doing it incorrectly as you can by skipping it entirely.
Enter your stretches slowly, and don’t overstretch to the point of pain. You should feel a satisfying pull, but if it hurts, you’ve gone too far. Combine static stretching—where you find your stretch and hold it for 30 seconds or more—with dynamic stretches like “cat-cow” where you move fluidly through a range of controlled motions. Feel free to concentrate on an area longer if you know you’re about to work that area out intensively or if you feel a lot of tightness there. And please, don’t bounce in your stretch—just stick with smooth, steady movements to avoid injuring yourself before you’ve even begun your workout.
During the workout, pay attention to areas of tightness/sensitivity you noticed during your stretching session (or any new ones you discover). Don’t “push through the pain” in problem areas or extend your muscles and joints past their natural range of motion. Basically, if it feels wrong, it is wrong. There’s absolutely no shame in modifying a move to protect yourself.
“If you’re attending livestream classes at the studio you regularly go to, reach out to your instructor(s), and let them know what you’re experiencing. Just like in a regular class, they’ll be happy to chat with you on the phone or through FaceTime, individually, to provide tips to modify and recover properly,” says McAlister.
Once you've counted down the final seconds of your workout and completed your last rep, you may be (justifiably) tempted to lay on the floor in a sweaty heap for a while before getting up to shower and carry on with your day. But do that and you’ll miss a huge opportunity to improve your overall mobility and flexibility.
As soon as your workout is over, cool down with some walking to bring your heart rate down in a controlled manner. Once you’ve caught your breath, it’s time to stretch again—and this one’s at least as important as the first. Think about it: your muscles are about as warm as they’re ever going to get, which makes it the perfect opportunity to work on conditioning those muscles and joints. Stretching can help lengthen and soothe your pumped-up muscles, which are now in a more contracted state after your workout.
Plus, stretching is just a nice closing ritual for ending a workout. It allows you to decompress after the physical demands you just placed on your body and gives you a moment of calm reflection before changing gears.
Just like working out, stretching only reveals its true potential when you do it consistently. If you’re inflexible now, you got that way over a long period of time—and that means it’s going to take time to improve it. You can’t expect a single high-quality stretch sesh to undo months or years of tightness. Stick with a good pre- and post-workout stretch routine, and one day you’ll notice those toes aren’t quite so far away, and your back doesn’t hurt so much when you do that one thing anymore.
Right now, a lot of people are re-evaluating what “normal” means for them, and many of them are finding ways to use this difficult time for self-improvement. Virtual, at-home workouts are a blessing, giving us ways to stay active and stay connected with our favorite studios and trainers (or try new ones!). But remember, you can protect yourself while you push yourself—you just might have to stretch yourself a bit.