Do you exercise with your makeup on?

Posted by Teresa Foo on

I am a big fan of exercise and have been working out regularly. I work out at least twice a week with a minimum of 30 minutes each session. Regular Exercise not only keeps my body physically healthy (makes me look younger too!), it also makes my heart stronger. Exercise releases good endorphins that can help us to destress. Exercise have shown potential that "changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills" according to Harvard Health Blog (source). 

Regular exercise also keeps our skin looking healthy. During a workout, our heart starts to pump faster (cardiovascular exercise going on there) and carries oxygenated blood throughout our body. Hence we will get a flushed look during and after we have exercised. In other words, our skin 'glows' with regular exercise. We also perspire a lot in the process. Here are some fun facts about our sweats (source). 

There is a rising trend in wearing makeup during workout which the products are called Athleisure makeup. These makeup are formulated to stay on your skin no matter how much you perspire. Sounds great? Probably not. I spoke to Alexia Buttigieg, an experienced Esthetician, on her views about wearing makeup when you exercise.

Alexia, can you share with us does makeup gets absorbed into the skin?

"Before I answer the question of makeup absorbing into the skin, we must understand that not all cosmetic ingredients are absorbed by the skin. Cosmetics only penetrate the first layer of dead or dying cells. Cosmetics do not go beyond that otherwise they would be classified as drugs or Pharmaceutical products! We do not want cosmetics to go beyond the first few layers of the skin i.e. deep into the dermal layer, as it would affect cell metabolism.

Makeup falls under cosmetics and it does penetrate into the first few layers of keratinised cells but not absorbed into the dermal layer which leads to the blood stream (which is good news). Makeup can get trapped in the horny layers with bacteria and sebum (the natural oil that our skin produces)."

What are the reasons why we should not wear makeup when we work out?

"Athleisure makeup may sound trendy but it is not a good idea to wear makeup during a workout as it can clog pores and disrupt the skin barrier. The foundation, loose powders and blushers are made of colouring agents and other substances (occlusive ingredients) which are meant to stay on the surface of the skin. They may penetrate into the epidermis during a workout. Our body produces heat (burn calories) when we exercise. As a result, skin metabolism rate increases. Pores become dilated (enlarged), and bacteria can get trapped in them. With a cocktail of sweat, bacteria, dirt and makeup, skin cell inflammation can occur and leads to irritation, redness, acne flare-ups and clogged pores.

Cleansing the skin before a workout is ideal, and highly recommended. As mentioned earlier, skin is highly active during a workout and may absorb whatever is on the surface. Even if you do not wear any makeup before starting your workout, your skin should be cleansed prior to any high-intensity activity. You should cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser and apply a light and fast penetrating facial serum. If the workout is performed outdoor, a sunscreen with non-nano zinc oxide should be worn so it will stay on the surface and not have the possibility to get absorbed into the bloodstream (nano-sized zinc particles do get absorbed into the bloodstream).

Our skin should be cleansed thoroughly again after a work out to remove excess sweat (and a cocktail of dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells too!) and whatever the skin would have expelled. Gently pat your skin dry with clean tissue instead of wiping with the wet towel to reduce irritation.

TIP: Makeup should be applied at least 30 minutes after the workout (onto freshly cleansed skin) so that the body has enough time to cool down. Our skin will still be in the 'active' state after shower and cleansing. The heart will require some time to slow down the blood pumping action. Your skin should be cool to the touch before applying any makeup especially foundation. 

Most often, girls and women wear makeup during their workout because they want to look good in their selfies or probably due to lack of self-confidence. Would you like to offer a few words of encouragement to all our female readers on embracing their natural beauty sans makeup during exercise?

"You will notice that exercise makes the skin flush which gives an impression of making you look younger and healthier. We should not be uncomfortable in our own skin. Almost no one has the perfect complexion so I believe we should all go bare-faced during a workout and let the skin do it’s own 'workout' too."

Photo courtesy of Alexia and friends sans makeup after their Zumba workout session.

Thank you Alexia for sharing with us. Let us embrace our natural beauty and exercise to your hearts' content sans makeup! Wear your natural flushed look with confidence! 

"Do not let beauty define you. You define beauty.

[ Alexia Buttigieg is a Holistic Therapist who is passionate about everything that can help people feel better in a more natural approach, from massage to self-therapy to essential oils and reflexology. She believes that stress cannot be avoided but nature has given us all we need to reduce it, and live a more balanced existence. She started her career as a Beauty therapist and has achieved diplomas in Esthetician and Physiatrics, where she was able to understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body. She furthered her studies by achieving diplomas in Reflexology (including palliative care) and Aromatherapy. Other certificate courses include tui na, facial analysis and Ayurvedic stone massage. In these past years she has ventured into natural cosmetics and read for a diploma and an advanced diploma in organic skincare formulation, which harmonises her passions for Aromatherapy and organic skincare treatments. Alexia still feels like her first role is being a mother to her daughter and prioritises family and their well-being. She may be contacted at ]


← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

From the blog


We can beat Breast Cancer!

By Teresa Foo

Every October will be filled with messages, advertisements, events, talks and many editorials about creating awareness for Breast Cancer. Breast cancer is the leading common cancer...

Read more

Vitamin C - the antioxidant you can count on for ageing gracefully

By Teresa Foo

Vitamin C is a generic term for several different compounds that share similar chemical structures. The types of vitamin C found in many skincare products are...

Read more