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Do You REALLY Have to Reapply Your Skin Care Regimen After Swimming and Sweating?

Between sweat, swimming, and sun, the skin care you applied in the morning might not last you through all your summer activities. But should you reapply your routine afterwards, and if so, when? Read on to find out what experts say about reapplying your skin care routine after swimming and sweating.

Applying your AM and PM skin care routines may seem like a time commitment enough. However, there are a few instances when reapplying products in the middle of the day might also be necessary. The questions, though, are when and which products you ought to be reaching for. Post-swim? Post-gym? Post-outdoor adventure? We reached out to a couple of dermatologists and asked them to weigh in on all of the above. The answers may or may not surprise you!

Should you reapply your skin care products after the gym?

If you’re working out in the early morning right after waking up, there’s really no need to apply a full face of skin care (save for sunscreen if you’ll be outside) until after you’ve worked out and showered.

If you’re a nighttime gym goer, then you should absolutely reapply post-sweat sesh, though SPF wouldn’t be necessary. 

Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, notes that makeup (not including your SPF) should be removed prior to getting your sweat on.

“While exercising, you are sweating and pushing impurities out of your skin and wearing makeup, especially foundation, prevents that from happening. If you are going to have a vigorous workout where you will be sweating a lot, I recommend taking off the makeup and then reapplying after,” she says. 

Following the gym, she says you should get out of your sweaty clothes as quickly as possible (this is a playground for bacteria and lingering in gym clothes can lead to body acne) and to shower and wash your face. She says, “You don’t want to reapply sunscreen or skin products without washing off bacteria and the sweat residue that’s accumulated.”

Follow up with your usual full AM or PM skincare regimen, including actives (assuming you didn’t apply any strong actives right before your workout).

Should you reapply your skin care products after swimming in the pool?

Same story for this one: You should wash your face and then reapply your AM or PM regimen after swimming in the pool. This includes face wash, toner, SPF, and moisturizer. You can wait to reapply any actives until the evening. 

“After swimming at the pool, you should always rinse your skin and reapply whatever skin care products you had on prior to swimming. After you swim you will be toweling off, and that will wipe off any product or sunscreen you had on,” says Dr. Jaliman. “[Further], exposure to the chlorine can irritate and dry your skin.” 

Note that reapplication of SPF is important even if the product says “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” 

“Per the FDA, labels can say ‘water-resistant’ and specify 40 or 80 minutes. Other than that, all other claims are unproven and potentially not meaningful, including ‘sweatproof’ or ‘waterproof,’” says Dr. Daniel Belkin, a board-certified dermatologist and the clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU. 

Should you reapply your skin care products after hanging at the beach?

You also should reapply your skin care products after hanging out at the beach. Start with a face wash (you can use wipes if you’re on the go), then move on to a toner to rebalance. From there, reapply your favorite sunscreen and follow up with a moisturizer. Again, you can wait to reapply actives until the evening.

Note that this routine is recommended whether you get in the water or not. Dr. Jaliman says, “If you’re in the hot sun, you most likely will be sweating, so reapplication is necessary. Also, make sure you’re reapplying sunscreen every two hours when out in the sun.”

The toner and moisturizer are important, as well, because you’ll likely be exposed to salty air or water, which can make your skin prone to dryness and irritation, notes Dr. Belkin. He says to go gung-ho and apply liberally.

Should you reapply your skin care products after spending time outdoors?

Would you be surprised if we told you that reapplying your skin care regimen is also important after spending extended time outside? It’s true, though the real factor to consider here is how much you’ve been sweating. 

If it’s a cool day and you haven’t sweated at all, then reapplication isn’t necessary or urgent. (The only exception of course, is to reapply your SPF every two hours.) 

If it’s a hot and humid summer day, though, you definitely don’t want to skip out. Dr. Jaliman says, “Sweat definitely takes off sunscreen and makes your skin care products less effective.” You’ll want to wash your face (using wipes if necessary) and then follow up with toner, SPF, and moisturizer. You can wait to reapply any actives until your evening routine.

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