Being an active, sweat-loving girl is great for a midsection, mood and overall health. The downside? The beauty bummers that can happen as a result of workouts. Case in point: the ballet barre class that's currently en vogue causes calloused hands, running in races results in rough soles, and swimming laps leaves hair fried and dried. Active women, from us everyday gals to superhuman Olympians, face these and similar issues daily. Here, experts offer solutions so that we can stay pretty sporty.
Beauty bummer it causes: Rough, cracked heels
Though it’s hard to prevent the beating your soles get from running, you can heal it by regularly applying moisturizing creams. Good options include AmLactin or Kerasal One Step Exfoliating Foot Moisturizer Therapy, which contain lactic or salicylic acid to slough off dead skin cells and have the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of approval. “For better results, apply the moisturizing cream first then a thick ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor to lock in the moisture,” says podiatrist Crystal Murray Holmes, DPM, assistant professor at The University of Michigan Medical School. For an ever deeper treatment, Holmes suggests wrapping feet with plastic wrap after the cream and Vaseline or Aquaphor, then slipping on cotton socks.
Beauty bummer it causes: Dry hair from soaking in chlorine
Prevent this by wetting your hair with tap water before diving into the pool. This way non-chlorinated water fills the hair’s porous areas so it won’t absorb as much chlorine. Even better? "Before going for a swim, slather your hair (wet or dry) with a rich conditioner," suggests hair stylist Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook." Next, slip on a bathing cap. Besides protecting hair from chlorine, this also becomes a deep conditioning treatment. Once you’re done in the pool, make sure to cleanse hair with a product that doesn’t contain sulfates, like DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser. (Sulfates are detergents that strip your already chlorine-fried hair of its natural oils.)
Beauty bummer it causes: Blisters
“Blisters are caused by friction and moisture so minimizing these two factors is the best prevention,” explains Holmes. To do that, make sure your shoes are the right size. Too snug and they’ll rub; too large and feet slide. And both scenarios can cause blisters. Also keep sweaty feet dry by wearing socks made of materials that absorbs the moisture away from skin. Another form of prevention comes from your underarms' best friend: apply anti-perspirant to your soles and between your toes to decrease friction and sweating.
Beauty bummer it causes: Chest, shoulder or back acne
In soccer or any sport that lasts a while, you’re often wearing your sweaty workout clothes for long periods of time. As a result, sunscreen combined with the bacteria, dirt and oils on your skin can clog pores and cause acne on your chest, shoulders and back. “To prevent this, shower before your workout to remove any dirt, oil, and dead skin cells that are on the surface of the skin, and which in the course of workout with sweating and rubbing can be pushed into the pores and block them, which causes acne,” says cosmetic dermatologist Neal B. Schultz, M.D, founder of DermTv.com. Then shower ASAP after your workout, cleansing skin with a chemical exfoliant like glycolic or salicylic acid in a liquid or gel form like Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash Pink Grapefruit. (If you can’t shower immediately, use wipes that contain one of these ingredients, like Yes To Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Facial Towelettes.) To treat existing acne, do all of the above, plus apply a treatment product that contains benzoyl peroxide. “Also, for longer workouts, choose clothes made of fabrics that wick moisture so you don’t have wet material rubbing against the skin,” adds Schultz.
Sport: Beach volleyball
Beauty bummer it causes: Rough, calloused hands
Callouses on your hands can also be caused by ballet barre classes, softball or weight lifting. For some activities, you can prevent callouses by wearing weight lifting gloves. To remedy hands that are already roughed up, “use a cream that contains urea to soften skin and then file callouses down with a pumice stone,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C.. Two to try: Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Creme and Kerasal Exfoliating Pumice Paste.
Beauty bummer it causes: Sunburn.
A long match is a great workout, but if you’re too busy to reapply sunscreen, your skin can end up getting fried. Alleviate some of the pain and redness by soaking a washcloth in cold, full fat milk and placing it on the sunburned area for five to ten minutes. “The lactic acid in milk helps reduce inflammation and redness and the fat soothes skin,” says Francesca Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Another option: rub a slice of fresh tomato on sunburned skin. “Tomatoes contain lycopene, a compound that is an anti-inflammatory and can decrease swelling,” says Fusco. And of course to prevent the burn in the first place, slather on the sunscreen half an hour before your workout and reapply throughout.
What are some of your cures for workout-induced beauty blunders?