Here's Why You Should Never Wear Makeup During Your Workout

Wearing makeup during a workout is a little like going to bed without washing your face: logically, you know it's not a good idea, but how bad can it be? As it turns out, it's pretty bad — and bad enough to be avoided. A contributing factor could make the nasty outcome even worse, especially if you like to work out at a center where other people are huffing, puffing, and sweating alongside you. Plus, another health consequence that many people haven't even considered looms as a threat.

Before you learn about these influences, take it from the top. You know that the goal of a workout is to work up a sweat. Although perspiration is proof of your effort, it caps a perfect storm for breakouts and blemishes when it commingles with dirt, natural oils, and especially the bacteria on your skin, the American Academy of Dermatology Association says. Adding makeup to this mix is like asking for trouble, Dr. Anjali Mahto, a consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, tells Elle. Here's why.

Equipment intensifies the risk

The most obvious reason you should not wear makeup during a workout is that you'll clog your pores, Dr. Anjali Mahto says (via Elle). But take this reality one step further: you can take proactive steps to address what you should do to protect your skin before, during, and after a workout. But that contributing factor — the workout equipment you're surrounded by — may very well defeat your best efforts.

The equipment you work with may include weights, workout machines, bicycles, treadmills, and even mats, which realistically could be covered in bacteria and germs from other people by the time you arrive. Even if you're wise enough to wipe down a piece of equipment before you touch it, you'll eventually make physical contact with it. Then begins a vicious cycle, with bacteria going from your face, to the equipment, and then back to your face again, Dr. Anjali Mahto says. (It's inevitable, as Healthline says many people touch their face at least a dozen times an hour.)

Wearing makeup during a workout can do more than plug up your pores; it can result in a stye. This unexpected health consequence is described by the Cleveland Clinic as "a painful red bump on your eyelid edge." It breaks out when an oil gland near the eye gets blocked (those oils strike again) and then turns red with infection.

Be proactive before, during and after workouts

This is why dermatologist Dr. Lucy Chen, M.D., tells that people should avoid wearing all types of makeup during a workout, meaning not just the obvious skin-hugging makeup — foundation, concealer, and blush — but also all forms of eye makeup.

Otherwise, get off to the best and cleanest possible start by removing your makeup. If you can't wash your face with a gentle cleanser and water, use a makeup remover towelette instead, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends. Be sure to put on clean clothing before every workout. You can't see dead skin cells and bacteria on your clothes, but they're there, just waiting to stir up trouble with your pores. While you work out, keep a clean towel nearby to wipe off your perspiration. If someone grabs your towel by mistake, get a new one. You can't see their bacteria and oils, either, but they're there. And these foreign elements can cause you to break out just as surely as your own.

Use a separate towel to wipe down shared equipment. And think twice about using shared protective equipment (like helmets). They can be harbors of no good, swimming in elements that can cause problems for your skin. After working out, wash your face if you can't take a shower. Removing dirt and oil from your skin is the most important post-workout step you can take — and a move you'll want to repeat before bedtime.