Does Wearing Make Up to The Gym Damage Your Skin?

While Instagram might lead you to believe that the norm is to look flawless while at the gym, let’s face it for most of us it’s definitely more sweat than (kira-kira) sparkle.

To hide the red patches that seem to appear the minute you cross the threshold you might be tempted to slab on a bit of make up.

But despite your healthy intentions, getting a work out in, are you running your skin’s health as a result?

Dr. Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, says, as we expected, the best strategy is to go makeup free, in an interview with ELLE.

Workout Makeup Vogue Paris

“Ideally, it’s best to avoid wearing make-up to the gym,” says Dr. Mahto.

“Sweat and increased temperature brought on by exercise can lead to open pores which can become blocked by particles of make-up. This can easily lead to breakouts and, in turn, uneven skin texture.”

Not alone just sweat, when we’re at the gym our skin is in contact with like yoga mats, bicycle handles and weights, all of which are the breeding ground for the bacteria, and acne.

Though it’s not all bad news for makeup lovers. While you might get the odd spot Dr. Mahto says wearing makeup to the gym might not necessarily lead to long-term damage.


“The body’s natural, physiological reaction to exercise is to generate sweat and heat, and even though working out in make-up can cause breakouts, there is no evidence that it will lead to accelerated or premature ageing.”

While wearing make-up may not cause damage to the skin in the long run, exercising outside could.

Though you could be doing long-term damage by exercising outside. “It’s so, so important to wear an SPF,” says Dr. Mahto.

“Even if you are prone to breaking out. This protects against sun damage, skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin.’

Vogue Paris Workout Gym Makeup

She suggests investing in mineral sunscreens rather than chemical sunscreens, “especially if you’re prone to acne or other skin ailments.”

“For those using chemical sunscreens, though, gel-like formulations are likely to be better than cloying, richer creams.”

The beauty industry has been telling us that oil cleansers are the way forward however Dr. Mahto advises us to steer clear of them, especially before hitting the gym.

“Unless you have really dry, sensitive skin, I do not recommend oil cleansers,” she says.

“There are many different types of oil being used for this purpose and many are comedogenic and can cause blackhead formation – the initial acne lesion. There are better cleansing methods for skin that won’t clog pores.”

It seems you might need to fit in some cleansing and toning before and after you head to that body toning class then…