Do you workout and experience acne? Don’t make these mistakes! (INTERVIEW with a specialist)

Do you workout and experience acne? Don’t make these mistakes! (INTERVIEW with a specialist)

22.03.2022 12 minutes

Attention! This article contains information you won’t find anywhere else. If you suffer from acne and pigmentation, or your back and thighs are covered with heat rash, this article will help you get rid of them. We interviewed one of our own NEBBIA women, who is our friend, colleague, and a personal skin therapist that made us believe in all kinds of miracles. Kristyna Trojanova @kris.cares reminds us daily of the importance of using SPF cream while providing you with the best possible content that will improve your fitness game. Read the article till the end and learn how to take care of your skin after training and how to prevent acne and pimples due to sweating.

Tell us about yourself, what you do and what started your interest in everything skincare related? What was your motivation?

Hey everyone! I am Kris, originally from Znojmo, Czech Republic, but I’ve been living in Zilina, Slovakia, for almost two years. I work as a content marketing manager at NEBBIA. I have been a skincare maniac for about three years. It started with acne scarring that I wanted to get rid of. At some point, I moved from just googling information to reading studies and clinical cases. I became a walking encyclopedia. 

What are the most common mistakes people make in their skincare?

Just as men and women make mistakes when trying to lose weight and while working out, they also make mistakes when taking care of their skin. One of the most common ones is using any peeling daily. If you use peeling excessively, you damage your skin barrier and dry your skin out. As a result, your skin:

a) Looks older and gets wrinkles faster,

b) Compensates lack of moisture with extra oil production

Another important red flag is any homemade skin care product. Ladies, stop! Coconut oil, lemon, or egg yolk face masks don’t belong on your skin. Coconut oil clogs pores and lemon throws off your skin’s natural pH. If you want to solve your skin’s problems, you need to use products that are designed for your skin, they contain the right pH and mechanism to have the desired effect. The only ingredient that you have at home and that I approve of is honey. It has healing and antibacterial properties. Still, I would rather put it in my tea.

Lately, I have noticed that many women don’t take off their makeup, they use toners with alcohol, and completely ignore the importance of using a good sun cream with SPF. Please, remember that the care you give your skin now will pay off in five to ten years. If you’re treating your skin poorly now, your skin will show it one day, and you won’t like it.

Various kinds of masks with clay and activated charcoal are currently very trendy. The peel-off masks too. Do you think they can be helpful?

The peel-off masks do more harm than good because when you peel them off, they damage the natural protective barrier of your skin. Other kinds of masks that are washable can be helpful but only short-term. Basically, they absorb sebum, which makes your pores look smaller. We have to understand that pores have their purpose, and everyone has them. Their size depends on genetics, and we cannot change them, we can only make them "appear" less noticeable. The opening and closing function of pores is also a myth. It’s important to keep them clean which can be achieved by using substances like salicylic acid. If we are mechanically rough on our pores, and we continue to attack them, chances are they will enlarge irreversibly.

You taught everyone at our company to use a cream with SPF50. Why?

Aww, it took me a long time! :) I still have to convince some people, especially our male colleagues. I do believe, however, that after a few minutes in one room with me, they will be buying sunscreen in no time. The importance of applying sun cream cannot be put into words. 90 % of skin ageing is caused by UV rays. It’s important to protect ourselves from it. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy. To those who don’t believe me, I often say: “Get yourself an SPF cream or else you’ll look like a piece of dried fruit in a few years!” This is my secret weapon to make them buy it.

Many girls work out with their makeup on. What do you think about it? Can the combination of sweat and makeup cause clogged pores or skin damage?

If you work out in the morning, it’s more than enough to apply an SPF cream. Finish your workout, take a shower, and then do your regular skincare routine. If you work out in the afternoon or evening, you are probably wearing some makeup. Ideally, you should work out without it, but I understand that it doesn’t fit into our plans. Makeup in general tends to clog our skin. Plus, there are plenty of bacteria and particles that get stuck in your makeup particples. You should clean your skin after a workout using a proper cleanser.

Heat and makeup don’t have to be the cause of your acne. I think the problem is that you touch all kinds of equipment at the gym, and you put all those bacteria and dirt on your skin. I can see a problem in the equipment cleaning products or that towel that you’ve been using to dry your sweat. If these bacteria get on your skin, there’s a good chance it’ll cause skin irritation which can lead to more serious issues such as dermatitis, folliculitis, or infection of sweat glands.

Solution? Avoid touching your face during workouts. Put your hair in a ponytail so that it doesn’t fall on your face, and after the workout, take a shower and wash your face. Sweat, humidity, and air pollution will have a direct effect on your pores. If you don’t clean your skin, you’re asking for trouble.

Are there any products I shouldn’t use before training? Perhaps the ones that can cause damage if you combine them with sweat and salt.

No. If you wash your skin afterwards properly, no ingredients are harmful.

So, it isn’t sweat that causes acne, but the pollution from the environment. What happens when we get sweaty?

The sweat isn’t skin’s best friend. The first thing you do after each training session is to get rid of the accumulated sweat. However, sweat isn’t created by the same pores as those who regulate the amount of sebum or oil. The glands responsible for the production and secretion of sweat are the apocrine and eccrine glands. The sweat secretion serves to get rid of waste and to cool our bodies down. If you leave sweat on your skin for too long it will crystallize which can cause skin irritation. Moreover, if these glands get clogged, it can lead to the so-called heat rash which is quite common in people who do sports. Skin is irritated and red, it’s a rash that can also turn into little pimples (NB: this is not acne).

How to get rid of heat rash?

If you experience heat rash, I recommend streamlining your skincare routine, because your skin barrier has been damaged, and we wouldn’t want to irritate skin even more with active ingredients. These are the ingredients that can for example speed up cell turnover (acids, retinol). Instead try to implement ingredients such as panthenol, ceramides, honey, aloe vera, tiger grass that support the regeneration of your skin barrier. It doesn’t matter if you have skin rash on your face or back, you can get rid of it only with gentle care.

The Hydrocortisone healing cream is very effective in dealing with heat rash. You can get it over the counter at your local pharmacy. If that doesn’t help, and it gets serious, you should visit a dermatologist that can prescribe something stronger or find another reason behind your skin rash. Moreover, you should keep the areas with skin rash dry and keep them cool.

Last but not least, be mindful of the sports clothing you use during your workouts. Your sports bra, leggings, and t-shirt should be able to drain the sweat and moisture away. They should be made of breathable and functional material. Our Ocean Selected Collection has these properties. I also recommend it since it’s eco-friendly. If you plan to have a strength workout with minimum repetitions, therefore you won’t overheat yourself, go for the Intense Focus Sweatshirt. Don’t forget to change and wash your sports clothes regularly. Use special laundry detergent that eliminates odours and bacteria.

Read more: What materials should you wear for your training? Cotton vs Polyester

What’s the correct way to take off your makeup?

The best way to finish your training is by taking a shower during which you wash your face with micellar water or a gel cleanser. Don’t use your shower gel! If you train in the morning, afterwards you can do your usual skincare routine. Don’t forget to use sunscreen at the end. During the day you can use makeup wipes if you have nothing else. If you apply your active ingredients like acids or vitamin C in the morning, you don’t have to use them again in the same day. They continue to have their effect even after you shower or sweat.

Should we have a different after training skincare routine during winter and summer?

That’s a tricky question. It depends on your skin type since dry, oily, combination skin changes during the year. For example, in the winter months, skin tends to be drier and therefore you should use a thicker moisturizer. On the other hand, it’s often enough to use a cream with SPF during the summer months.

You’ve mentioned skincare routine multiple times. What’s yours?

My skin is dry in winter and normal in summer. I use my skincare to combat issues like dry skin and hyperpigmentation (red spots left after acne). In the morning, I wash my face with water, I apply good hydrating serum, 15 % vitamin C serum, and moisturizer. At the very end, I use a cream with SPF50. During the summer months, I don’t use a moisturizer, I just apply a good hydrating cream with SPF.

My evening routine changes according to my needs. I always use hydrating serum and moisturizer, but I use different active ingredients. Three times a week I use retinol, twice a week I use lactic acid, on the other days I use azelaic and tranexamic acid that help with combating my problem with pigmentation.

So, you have something for every day. Do you do something that you do weekly?

Yes, once a week I add a peeling mask from The Ordinary to my routine. It has 30 % AHA acids and 2 % BHA acids. Ladies, not all peelings were created equal! The difference between the homemade ones is that these are not physical scrubs, but chemical exfoliants and thus, designed for your skin. I apply it in 3 drops on specific areas where I have acne scars and leave it there for 10 mins. Because I apply it to specific areas, the scarring is almost gone. It took me three months to get my scars to this stage. I also use hydrating honey masks and a roller for lymphatic drainage massage.

Is it still considered correct to have different skin types such as oily, combination, and dry?

I am so happy you asked! This is the problem. During our adolescence, our hormonal activity spikes and we have oilier skin. That is the period when we start taking care of our skin more. We see acne, blackheads, oily skin, and we immediately think: “Damn, I have to dry this out!” This is when the vicious cycle of over-drying the skin begins. Every skin type needs hydration, it’s absolutely necessary for optimal functioning of your skin and pores. Most people who came to ask for advice about skincare have claimed that they have oily skin. Together we concluded that it’s not true. When my clients stopped exfoliating so much (removal of dead skins from the top layer of the skin) and they added more hydration, the problem with excess oil stopped over time.

Skin type isn’t fixed. It changes with age, hormones, nutrition, weather, seasons. It’s important to understand our skin’s tendencies. So, it’s not about skin types, it’s more about skin problems. I think it’s more relevant to solve specific issues your skin has. Is it acne? Enlarged pores? Pigmentation? Wrinkles? Dryness? This way you can build your skincare routine much more efficiently and give your skin what it needs.

Girls often complain about acne-prone and oily skin. You like it when your skin is glowing. What’s the difference between oily and healthy hydrated glowing skin? How to take care of acne-prone skin?

Healthy and hydrated skin has a healthy glow that’s even. There are only minimal wrinkles, skin seems full, and pores are almost invisible. Oily skin shines too, but it’s only in certain areas of the face e.g., the T zone. Plus, there are many clearly visible imperfections like wrinkles, black heads and enlarged pores. The best advice for oily skin is to not be afraid of hydration and creams! Oily skin needs hydration because we have the tendency to dry it out. It will never be healthy, and your skin barrier will never be optimal otherwise.

Can you give us examples of products, acids, and oils you would use for problematic skin?

We have three main skincare products: cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF cream. The rest is adjustable to the specific problem.

● If you have enlarged pores and blackheads, I recommend using salicylic acid, retinol and niacinamide. This works well for acne as well. I recommend not taking these supplements: vitamins B6 or B12. They can contribute to worsening of your acne.

● If you suffer from pigmentation, using alpha-hydroxy acids is very effective (lactic, glycolic, malic acids), vitamin C and once again retinol.

● If you have wrinkles, look for products with peptides, vitamin C and retinol.

Yes, retinol is the biggest most amazing multitasker ever! 

Lastly, share a piece of wisdom with our fans, Kris.

“Skin-care is self-care!” It’s not superficial or egoistic. You shouldn’t be ashamed of taking care of yourself. Your skin will be with you for the rest of your life. You are the one that has to look at it every morning. It's okay to want to see it healthy and glowy. Girls, the most beautiful feature of your face is your SMILE! So take your mental health seriously. Take care of your nutrition and gut health. Don’t forget to get moving. Don’t worry about being sweaty. After each training, you get that feeling of happiness and you also SMILE.

P.S.: If you move your facial muscles too much, you will get wrinkles. So, no frowning! :)