Wearing makeup at the gym is a personal choice. But fungal acne is a great reason not to.

This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s beauty podcast, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, listen to You Beauty here for free. It’s a blast.

Let’s have an honest chat about wearing makeup to the gym.

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to wear a full face of makeup to the gym. Sometimes, it’s about who might be at the gym with you. Other times, it could be a choice of circumstance if you go straight from work.

Then, there are the times it’s about how you feel about yourself.

While we’re all for doing what makes you feel good – your face, your choice – there are some strong arguments for why wearing makeup while exercising isn’t great for your skin.

“The answer to whether it’s bad to wear makeup to the gym is… sort of, it depends on what you’re wearing,” Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist of 15 years Leigh Campbell said on the You Beauty podcast (get it in your ears below, post continues after audio).

“I wouldn’t advise it, but if you do it and can, bloody hell you do it. When I used to go to the gym, I would wear a tinted sunscreen for an outdoor class, sometimes… I’d do a bit of mascara, and always a lip balm.”

If you usually wear a full coverage foundation or your full, everyday makeup look while exercising, Leigh said you’re risking all the bacteria from the gym (your own and the bacteria of others… yum) getting into your pores.

“It depends on your skin type and resilience, some people honestly could wear a full coverage foundation to the gym and it not affect their skin, but I wouldn’t recommend that. You are heating up and sweating, and your pores are open, so whatever is on your face is going in there,” she said.

“Generally, the less you can wear at the gym, the better. You’re sweating to cool your body down, your skin is trying to perform a process. I have no problem with people wearing mascara or lip balm, but if you have sensitive skin or acne-prone skin, try not to wear anything on your face because workouts and sweat can cause breakouts.”

If this post has made you feel like exercising for some reason, here’s a quick stomach workout from Sam Wood. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

And not just any run of the mill pimples, apparently.

“Sweat can cause fungal acne, which is different to hormonal or bacterial acne. A lot of people get fungal acne on their jawline, some people get it on their bottom if they do spin class or the bottom is touching where someone else has been sweating,” Leigh added.


“Fungal acne needs to be treated differently to other forms of acne, so people might be trying to clear up their acne in traditional ways and find it’s not working. Sulfur is really good for fungal acne.” (You can find sulfur products on iHerb.)

If going without makeup at the gym just isn’t for you, no worries – Leigh recommends showering immediately after, or using antibacterial wipes if you can’t fit in a shower.

A final note on wearing makeup to the gym: go without if you can, but if you do wear it, opt for lighter formulas and shower/wash it off afterwards.

You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

‘Is it true that you can get addicted to lip balm?’

  • No – it’s a complete and utter myth that you can get addicted to lip balm. Lip balm contains nothing physically addictive.
  • Petroleum jelly isn’t addictive and lanolin isn’t addictive, it’s the feeling you’re addicted to.
  • If you feel like you’re always re-applying, check the lip balm you’re using.
  • Petroleum jelly is in a lot of formulas but isn’t hydrating, it creates a a barrier but it doesn’t add hydration meaning you need to apply more often.
  • Anything with lanolin in it (Lanolips and nipple creams), Bite Beauty lip balms and the Agave Mask, Carmex or Blistex will keep your lips feeling nourished.

Kelly’s Spendy: Buxom Full On Plumping Lip Cream in White Russian, $25.

Image: Cult Beauty.

Why she loves it:

  • It's not sticky, but it's a smooth gloss.
  • Gives you pretty hint of pink, very subtle colour.
  • It's a lip plumper, so it tingles and is minty, but only slightly.

Leigh's Spendy: Bioderma Sensibio H20 Reverse Pump 500ml, $31.99.

Image: Adore Beauty.

Why she loves it:

  • Leigh loves Bioderma Micellar Water, but now the pump pack is available in Australia.
  • This 500ml bottle has a pump on the top and you push the top with your cotton pad to wet it.
  • Basically, you don't have to pick up the bottles and it makes the laziest step even lazier and faster.
  • Only bad news, this bottle is limited edition so buy it quick so they make it a thing for good in Australia.

Kelly's Savey: L'Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, $17.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Why she loves it:

  • A beautiful, everyday mascara.
  • Is volumising and lengthening, but not clumpy or over the top.
  • Easy to remove, Kelly washes it off in the shower with micellar water.
  • Best Kelly's tried in a while that's not really expensive.

Leigh's Savey: Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses® Rosewater Mask, $22.99.

Image: Nourished Life.

Why she loves it:

  • Andoulou Naturals is one of America's biggest natural brands.
  • The mask comes in a tub so you'll get lots of uses out of it.
  • Leigh reckons it's a dupe/great savey option for the Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask ($180) that's been recommended a few times - a hydrating, juicy mask.
  • You can get it in Priceline and Chemist Warehouse.

Until next time, stay lovely.

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