With Memorial Day fast approaching, many are even more focused than usual on their bodies and getting them into tip-top shape at the gym. While exercise has multiple benefits, very often workouts and great looking skin don't go together.  We turned to Dr. Manish Shah, a Board-Certified Denver plastic surgeon and anti-aging expert, to give tips on how you can get the six-pack and still have glowing, acne free skin. 

Sweat Itself Does Not Cause Acne 

First, "It is important to know that sweat itself does not cause acne," says Dr. Shah. He explains, "Professional sportsmen are predisposed to accumulating dirt and bacteria in their pores during and after workout periods. If left without proper cleansing this can cause worsening in skin conditions like acne and dermatitis."

Avoid Makeup

These days a gym visit almost doesn't seem to "count" unless one Instagrams it. This often leads women to wear makeup to the gym. Just don't. Dr. Shah says, "Most makeup will clog pores by not allowing the skin to breathe naturally during workouts. A better option is a tinted moisturizer if you are self-conscious about your skin tone."


If you're going to be outdoors, apply a light moisturizer with SPF to keep your skin protected from UV rays.  Make sure to choose a lightweight product as not to clog up your pores. Look for words like "non-comedogenic" or "oil-free" to know that your sunblock won't cause acne.

Don't Touch Your Face at the Gym!

Cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, these all breed bacteria. Touching them and them wiping beads of sweat off your face is a sure way to spread bacteria that can create new breakouts. Make sure to bring a towel for this instead of using your hands.

A Flowing Mane of Hair is Not Your Friend During a Workout

When you are working out it is a good idea to keep hair out of your face by styling it into a bun or rocking a dry and clean sweatband. Sweat and dirt can get transferred from your hair onto your face. If you haven't washed your hair and you use hairspray or other hair products, these can also splash onto your pores along with perspiration. This can cause irritations and breakouts.

How to Choose the Right Gym Towel

An old rag won't be effective at absorbing sweat. However, you don't want a gym towel that is as absorbent as a bath towel you would use to dry off your body after a shower at home. Dr. Shah says that "The gym towel should be a happy medium — absorbent enough to keep your face dry during a workout, but not so thick it clings to bacteria even after a wash."

Wear Loose and Comfortable Gym Clothes

"Spandex is tight clothing that can lead to skin infections from bacteria and fungi," warns Dr. Shah. "Wear loose attire that will also help wick away the sweat preventing it from being absorbed by your skin." Just google "sweat-wicking workout clothes."

Reduce the Redness

Calm down a flushed face with your redness control remedy made up of a little bit of iced green tea and a spray bottle. "You'll cool down your skin and add in a few extra anti-oxidants in the process," says Dr. Shah.

After your workout

Dr. Shah stresses, "Wash your face immediately after your workout. You don't want a mixture of dirt, oil, and bacteria clinging to your skin, affecting its pH, and clogging your pores. If you are exercising in a park where there is no sink, bring cleansing facial wipes with you."

Moisturize Post Workout

No matter your type of skin, after cleansing you must moisturize. Dr. Shah says that "Skipping this essential step can unknowingly dehydrate your skin causing your oil-producing glands to overcompensate by producing an oversupply of oil. Use a moisturizer that's been produced for your specific skin type and condition immediately after cleansing for the best results."

Skip the Hot Shower

Sure, your muscles are sore, and you're in the mood for a hot shower after a workout. Dr. Shah points out that, "Hot water strips skin of vital oils, leaving you with dry, itchy, dull skin." Exfoliate more often to avoid "Bacne." Breakouts on your back or chest are particularly common for "gym rats." To avoid this, use a gentle body scrub three times a week. Dr. Shah says, "This will keep pores clear and skin functioning well."

Save Your "Superhero" Products for Night

Save serious treatment products for bedtime. Dr. Shah points out that, "Even seemingly normal skin can experience much more sensitivity right after a workout.  You may want to wait until redness decreases by bedtime to use your super-active acne or anti-aging treatment products."

 Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.


PHOTO CREDIT | Elizabeth French

PHOTO CREDIT | Elizabeth French

It is not uncommon for people to hold familiar myths as fact. Many people regard old college proverbs about partying and alcohol as tried and true. But facts are facts, people! We wanted to find out what science had to say about some common alcohol myths that might have no scientific basis to them. Dr. Duy Nguyen, a psychiatrist and addiction treatment specialist at Beachway Therapy Center in Boynton Beach, Florida offers his expertise on the topic.

Myth #1: Eating After a Night of Heavy Drinking will reduce your Hangover the Next Day

It’s hard to find a group of friends that hasn’t made a junk food trip after a night of drinking and partying. The general belief is that food will sober you up by helping absorb the alcohol you’ve consumed throughout the night. However, our expert suggests that by the time you eat that corner store donut, it might be too late. “Alcohol hits the bloodstream almost immediately after consumption. By the time you eat the junk food you crave, your system has already absorbed the alcohol,” says Dr. Nguyen. “Instead make a mindful decision to eat something before you begin to drink and then party and drink with moderation to avoid the negative effects of alcohol. Remember that food prior to a night of drinks only delays the absorption of alcohol but it doesn’t clear you from the consequences of too much drinking,” warns Dr. Nguyen.

Myth #2: A Cold Shower will Sober You Right Up

Many people think this is an effective way to get over the strain under which they put their body the night prior. The truth is though the cold shower can make you more alert because of the shock of the cold water it won’t change what is going on in your body. Your liver is dealing with the alcohol you subjected it to and your body is dealing with the fatigue. “ The standard notion is that your liver metabolizes 1 to 1.5 ounces of liquor in an hour. That is one standard drink. If you drank more than that then it piles up in the blood and body tissue until the liver has time to process it. The system has to run its course in processing the alcohol and a cold shower wouldn’t change what is already inside your system waiting to be metabolized,” explains Dr. Nguyen.

Myth #3: Liquor prior to Beer is safe but Beer prior to liquor can make you… sicker

The myth originates from the misconception that one standard beer has less liquor than a shot of hard liquor like vodka or whiskey. This is not true. Basically, the idea is that you start with the “stronger” liquor in order to get inebriated quickly and then the “lighter” alcohol to keep the buzz going. One standard shot of vodka has the same about of liquor as a 12 ounce of beer. So the only thing you are affecting is the volume at which you start. In any case drinking too much alcohol to quickly, regardless of what you are drinking will make you sick. “Pacing yourself is the key to not being sick. Anything in excess can be dangerous and that is especially true for alcohol,” says Dr. Duy Nguyen who practices his specialty at Beachway Therapy Center, a dual diagnosis treatment facility in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Myth #4: “I can sober up quickly if I had to”

It’s surprising how many people believe in their own ability to sober up if a serious enough situation arises. This belief is dangerous because aside from being scientifically inaccurate, it leads to poor decision making. “Drunk drivers often believe that they can sober up once they have to drive and they can end up causing accidents, hurting other people or themselves and getting into major trouble with the authorities,” explains Dr. Nguyen. There is no change to the blood alcohol level in your body caused by the need to sober up. You may feel some adrenaline that makes you more alert or awoken momentarily but your perception will still be impaired and brain functions dealing with decision making and operations will still be under the influence.

Myth #5: Puking will sober you right up

Puking can only relieve you of a very small amount of alcohol if done immediately after drinking. The system begins absorbing the alcohol almost immediately and it is likely that by the time you begin to feel nausea there is too much alcohol in your system already. “The brain has a system in place for detecting and receiving signals from the body that toxins have reached a dangerous level and that the body must puke to survive,” explains Dr. Nguyen. “The process of emesis (vomiting) takes place in a few steps. The central nervous system detects the excess of alcohol through the Chemoreceptor trigger zone. This part of the brain then sends signals to the Integrated Vomiting Centre of the brain stimulating the body’s function to expulse the excess toxins from the body.”

 Though the body tries it’s best to survive the puking does not sober you up right away and if you get to that level of intoxication, puking will surely not prevent a hangover the next morning.

Myth #6: Painkillers while drinking will prevent a Hangover

Medications are not to be taken with alcohol. Period. Pills like aspirin or ibuprofen are popular for headaches and people disregard the detrimental effects of taking these medications while drinking. Alcohol is a toxin that irritates the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. It can also affect the liver and the central nervous system when taken in excess.  Ibuprofen and aspirin can make this worse. “Long term use of this combo of substances can cause damage to your liver and kidneys and deteriorate the lining of your digestive system,” says Dr. Nguyen 

Myth #7: Once you break the seal you can stop running to the restroom

Many people will drink heavily and party hard but will hold urine all night because of the ubiquitous belief that breaking your seal and going to the restroom will have you peeing all night. This is an erroneous and problematic says Dr. Nguyen. “Our bodies have a hormone that helps your system reabsorb water from urine and helps dictate the amount of time it takes your bladder to fill up. Alcohol suppresses that hormone and as a result, your bladder fills up quicker because it is not receiving signals to reabsorb water already in your system.  Leaving you, aside from dehydrated, with the need to go to the restroom regardless of how long you hold it in.”

Read more from the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.