An active lifestyle is an important part of maintaining our health, and for many of us, that means regular visits to the gym. Working out helps ease physical ailments and can even improve your mood, but what’s it doing to your skin?

While exercise can benefit skin, it’s important that you take the time to keep it clean before and after working up a sweat. If that seems impossible, we guarantee it’s easier than you think.

Should I Wash My Face Before Working Out?

A lot of us squeeze workouts into a schedule that’s already jam-packed, which means stopping at the gym on the way to work, heading there right after work, or even working out during your lunch break (when what you really want is French fries). You may be wondering if it’s safe to work out when you have makeup on, or if you should remove it before exercise. Good questions!

In general, it’s best to take off your makeup before you hit the elliptical. Mascara and eyeliner can run into your eyes, causing irritation, and foundation and powder can mix with sweat to create a pore-clogging situation on your face.

Sometimes even the most tenacious makeup is challenged by an intense sweat session or several laps in the pool, so it’s a good idea to remove it first. How to do so fast? Stash some gentle, yet effective, makeup-removing wipes in your gym bag. Simply swipe a wipe across your face (taking care not to tug) and remove your makeup (especially eye makeup) for a fresh face before you begin your workout.

What About Washing My Face After My Workout?

One of the best parts of hitting the gym is that relaxing post-workout shower. But, just because you don’t have time for a full shower doesn’t mean your facial skin needs to suffer!

Pack along your favorite cleanser and run through a quick purposeful routine at the sink. Splash your face with lukewarm water (not hot), dispense a quarter-size amount of cleanser, and gently spread it in a circular motion all over your face for 20–30 seconds. When you’re done, rinse thoroughly, then pat skin dry with a soft towel—stash this in your bag, too.

If you’re too pressed for time, rely on the wipes mentioned above. Paula's Choice Skincare's Gentle Cleansing Cloths are a perfect addition to your gym bag. These soft, fragrance-free cloths effectively remove the sweat, grime, and oil that can come from a workout in just a few passes (no need for rinsing). Even better, they deposit hydrating and soothing ingredients like chamomile and oat kernel extract onto skin, meaning they act as both a cleanser and a gentle toner—the perfect multi-tasking solution for your busy life!