Cosmetics, like foundation, if left on during physical activity, can adversely affect the skin by causing dryness and accelerating sebum production. This revelation stems from an international study recently published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. While makeup can enhance one’s appearance and conceal skin imperfections, an increasing number of individuals are opting to wear cosmetics during exercise. Despite the positive impact of physical activity on skin health, makeup use may present potential drawbacks.

The study sought to examine the impact of cream foundation on the skin during aerobic exercise. A water-based, oil-free foundation tailored for oily skin was chosen for its hypoallergenic properties and ability to regulate skin hydration. Forty-three healthy university students, comprising 20 males and 23 females, participated in the research. Half of each participant’s face received cream foundation application across the forehead and cheekbone areas, while the other half served as the control. Skin hydration, elasticity, pore size, sebum levels, and moisture were assessed using a skin analysis device before and after a 20-minute treadmill session. Sweat production increased post-exercise in both made-up and non-made-up areas, with a more pronounced effect observed in the former due to potential impediments to sweat evaporation posed by cosmetics.

Skin elasticity exhibited greater improvement post-exercise in made-up areas compared to non-made-up regions. Notably, pore dilation occurred in non-made-up skin following physical activity but was less significant in made-up skin, suggesting potential pore-clogging effects of cosmetics. Prior research indicates that blocked pores coupled with impaired sweat secretion can elevate sebum and waste buildup on the skin, leading to dermatological issues. Furthermore, skin hydration decreased in made-up areas post-exercise, indicating challenges in maintaining skin moisture while wearing cosmetics during physical exertion.

“For optimal skin health, exercising without cosmetics is preferable,” emphasized Dongsun Park, corresponding author from Korea National University of Education. Despite the growing trend of wearing cosmetics during exercise, Park stressed the need for further investigation into the effects of cosmetics on facial epidermis during physical activity. “This study offers valuable insights into the impact of foundation on the skin during exercise,” Park noted.

The researchers also highlighted the potential exacerbation of skin issues when sweat combines with makeup due to pore blockage. They recommended future studies explore various types of foundation creams, including oil-based, water-based, and water-free formulations.

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