This is your skin on yoga
Both my yoga mat and my skin are sticky. But my yoga teachers look radiant as ever. I don’t attribute this to just soap and water. Even the Schuyler Grants of the world need to exfoliate and moisturize. They’ve obviously figured out how to make sweating for a living work for them—and found skin-care products that lend a no-makeup-needed aura and a natural glow. I need to find mine.
Despite the inner calm I’m getting at yoga, there’s no solace at my studios for what ails my skin: extra oil, pore clogging, and extra redness. (There seems to be a moratorium on products that aren’t overtly wellness related.) So I’ve done some research and rigorously revamped my skin-care regimen to match my newly vigorous vinyasa practice.
My yoga bag is now stocked with staples targeted for my yoga-induced skin-care woes; my picks are listed below. It’s perfect timing for a week that kicks off with back-to-back outdoor yoga in Times Square today and Yoga at the Great Lawn in Central Park tomorrow.
Melisse Gelula’s product picks for yoga-afflicted skin
I never exit the yoga studio without washing away the sweat from my face (and décolleté and back of my neck). It’s a skin-care sin for which there is no absolution, since it’s just gluing down your dead skin cells and settling into your pores like cement. I like to use a cream cleanser for that dewy skin feeling, but lately I’m clinging to a clarifying one, like the liquid Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap with tea tree oil, an anti-bacterial.
Skin-calming, anti-bacterial plant-based face mists help bring down the post-practice heat: I like Living Tree Botanicals Blue Chamomile Facial Tonic, Jurlique Citrus Purifying Mist, and a few made by Pangea Organics.
Until my pores get used to the amount of sweating they’re doing, I’m using Susan Ciminelli’s Toning Formula, with essential oils, and SukiSpa Bio-Active Purifying Face Serum, a product that contains my new summertime friend salicylic acid, a proven pore penetrator. Both are pretty pricey, but the new Burt’s Bees Acne Solutions line is an affordable source of salicylic-acid products that work like preventative Drano.
There’s a natural post-yoga glow, and then there’s an all out oil slick. Moisturizers that tame the excess like Juara Sweet Black Tea and Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer and Sonya Dakar Pore Minimizer use oil-absorbing minerals, root extracts, and sometimes seaweed to sponge up shine.
Hyaluronic acid moisturizer
I don’t want to wear one of my heavy-weight anti-aging creams après sun salutions. So I’ve switched to a light moisturizer that contains Hyaluronic acid (Sodium Hyaluronate on the label) because it draws 1,000 times its weight in water. So it’s hydrating in a just-breathe kind of way. Most of Juice Beauty moisturizers contain it, and it’s in Nude Moisture Balance and REN Osmotic Infusion Ultra-Moisture Day Cream (it says its ultra rich, but it’s not).
Zinc oxide-based sunscreen
I can’t put chemical sunscreens on after working out. I’m overheated, and these make my skin even hotter and often itchy. Zinc is an anti-inflammatory mineral and a broad-spectrum physical blocker of damaging ultra-violet rays. I haven’t changed my sunscreens much since I wrote the piece on why you need to where them every day, I’d add to that list Soleo Organics (contains no titanium dioxide) and Desert Essence, which are organic options.
Like a Park Slope mom, I’m carrying around wipes. Only mine have tea tree or chamomile in them, and I use them on my feet (a public service, if you wear flip-flops) and sometimes my fanny (to prevent assne).