The Effects of Exercising with Makeup: What You Need to Know

The Effects of Exercising with Makeup: What You Need to Know
  • A new study shows wearing a foundation during exercise can cause changes in skin and its pores.
  • Dermatologists said wearing make-up while working out can clog the pores and potentially cause acne.
  • Healthier alternatives to foundation include beauty balm and color-correcting creams.

When it comes to skincare, it’s well-known that removing makeup before bed is important. This helps to prevent clogged pores, acne and other skin issues.

And as it turns out, makeup during exercise can also be problematic.

According to a new study, wearing a cosmetic foundation during aerobic exercise affects the skin and its pores.

The findings were published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

How foundation makeup can affect the skin during a workout

Researchers examined 43 healthy college students including 20 males and 23 females. Foundation cream was put on the forehead and upper cheek on half of the face. The other half remained bare.

Results showed an increase in moisture post-exercise on the entire face, but there was more moisture in the makeup area.

After exercise, skin pore size increased on the non-makeup of the face, but not as much on the makeup side. The amount of oil increased in the non-makeup area and decreased in the makeup area.

“There is a growing trend of people wearing makeup while exercising,” corresponding author Dongsun Park, PhD, of the Korea National University of Education, told Healthline. “This research suggests significance in studying the changes in the skin condition of individuals who wear makeup while exercising.”

Park continued: “According to this study, wearing heavy makeup like cream foundation during exercise can potentially lead to skin problems such as clogged pores due to sweat accumulation. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for lighter makeup or oil-free products to maintain healthy skin during exercise.”

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Here’s how makeup can hurt your skin

Makeup can clog pores and cause increased skin dryness, experts say.

“The reason it is recommended to remove makeup before going to bed is because it can combine with oil and dead skin cells to clog pores and promote acne formation,” said Dr. Brendan Camp, a dermatologist based in New York. “The same [applies] to wearing makeup while exercising. This recent study also suggests that wearing makeup while exercising may predispose the skin to increased dryness.”

This study focused mainly on foundation, but there are many other kinds of makeup.

“Mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick may present less of an issue during exercise because they are not applied to the entire face,” Camp explained.

However, more research is needed to see the impact of specific types of makeup on the skin during a workout.

Foundation alternatives to use while exercising

Some people may feel self-conscious about working out without makeup, especially in a public place. The good news is that there are healthier options than foundations that can provide coverage, according to experts.

“An alternative to foundation is a BB, or beauty balm,” said Camp. “BB creams are a cross between foundation and skincare products. They are often formulated to be non-comedogenic and are intended to improve skin tone and the overall appearance of skin. CC or color-correcting creams are intended to reduce redness or uneven skin tone. They may have a lighter consistency than BB creams.”

How to help your skin post-workout

“After exercising cleanse your skin (face and body) to remove excess oil, sweat, bacteria, and product residue that can contribute to acne or folliculitis,” Camp explained.

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Also, “when exercising outdoors remember to protect your skin from the sun. Use an SPF 30 minimum, sunglasses, a hat, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your ears, neck, and lips,” said Camp. “Drink water while exercising, which will help your skin remain hydrated but also maintain your body’s water balance.”

Takeaway Note

Wearing foundation during exercise can affect the skin and its pores, according to a new study.

Dermatologists advise against wearing foundation while working out since it can clog the pores and lead to acne.

For face coverage during exercise, beauty balm (BB) and color-correcting (CC) creams are healthier options.


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