The countdown has begun. There is less than a week to go before 2011, and the panic of what you’re going to wear at your upcoming New Year’s Eve party is setting in. Like most women around the world, you are attempting to work off your winter weight by spinning and lifting until the cows come home. We, too, are all about the holiday workout, but while you attempt to cardio your way into your party dress, don’t forget to follow a few basic tips to prevent a spotty complexion or illness on your big night.
We’ve all witnessed the fully made-up Pakistani Barbie doll pounding it out on the treadmill next to us. Please don’t be that girl. Not only is it distracting for others as they watch your mascara run as you sweat it out, but it’s the worst possible choice you could make for your skin. As your body begins to perspire, your pores open up. This means that any makeup you have on your face is bound to end up clogging the tiny openings in your skin, and ladies, no one wants to start 2011 with a fresh acne breakout.
If you often don’t have time to wash your face before heading to the gym and you refuse to utilise the resident bathroom, throw a few makeup-removing wipes into your purse. Although water and face wash is the best option, wipes will do in a pinch. If all else fails, grab your niece’s pamper wipes - they are soft enough for a baby’s bottom, so they’ll be gentle on your cheeks, too.
Most gyms offer towels for use that they swear have been washed in the most efficient and sanitary manner. What many women (and men) don’t realise is that gym towels carry a colossal amount of germs. We say ditch the public towels and bring your own along. Not only will you be avoiding infections from others, but you’ll be happier about having the soft cloth from home against your neck rather than the harsh linty towels from your neighbourhood gym.
While you’re at it, steer clear of community yoga and pilates mats, another swamp of contagious bacteria and viruses. The most common skin infections, such as warts and rashes, are transferred at gyms through shared porous equipment. If you can’t get your hands on your own yoga mat, be sure to spray down the pad with antibacterial cleaner and scrub until squeaky clean. It’s better to be overzealous than to be forced to have your physician freeze a growth off your back.
A final tip - be sure to tie your hair back as you climb onto the elliptical machine. This includes any bangs or stray tendrils that you normally shape loosely for “effect”. Sweat will quickly travel down your silky tresses and press down on your forehead, an area susceptible to breakouts. We love to style our hair in a loose bun at the nape of our neck. When the workout is over and the rubber band pulled out, the result is loose beachy waves to compliment a post-cardio flush.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2010.