If you are reading this blog, chances you are a big fan of hot yoga and have experienced the mental and physical benefits of toning, clarity, and stress relief that each class can bring. After all, the benefits are plentiful! From heavy sweating that flushes out the toxins in your body to cardiovascular strength to improved flexibility, there is no argument that hot yoga does wonders for our health.
Personally, I have always enjoyed the yoga “afterglow” that comes from a sweaty class. When friends use words like “radiant” or “glowing” to describe how I look, it makes me feel like I’ve discovered the fountain of youth through yoga. But, lately, that hasn’t been the case. My skin has started to change and appears unusually irritated after class. A combination of dry and oily spots cover my face with a deep red flush through the cheeks. Sometimes I even develop a patch of small red bumps or a few deeper cystic-like bumps just a few hours after leaving the studio. Yikes! I started to wonder what in the world was going on!
As I dug into some research, I found students who claim that hot yoga cured their acne while others say that it caused their acne (or made it worse). According to one acne specialist based in San Diego, CA, she says,”Hot yoga can be absolutely amazing for the body and skin. It’s detoxifying, increases blood flow, encourages circulation and elimination, and creates a healthy flexible body without harm to the joints due to the heat. However, hot yoga will also cause the body to heat up, which then can increase already inflamed skin. This heat and excess elimination can cause areas of inflammation to go on overload and cause adverse or more intense inflamed acne.”
Well, at least I know that I’m not crazy. It may very well be the hot room that triggers an overload of inflammation. But now what? What can students, like myself, do to minimize the effect and get back to that clear, beautiful “glow” that we used to have? There are several solutions.
Leave your make-up at home
One key to glowing skin is to facilitate the detox process before, during and after your practice. That means going to your class with a clean, make-up free face, wearing sweat-wicking fabrics and cleansing and moisturizing your whole body when you’re finished.
Use a natural cleanser
A natural cleanser was key for helping me neutralize and clean the skin. The ingredients in most facial products are packed with synthetic chemicals, so finding a natural skin-care line can make all the difference.
Once you’ve washed off the salty remains of your hot yoga session, it’s time to moisturize. Continue to drink lots of water and use an organic moisturizer on both your face and body. This will soothe any irritation or chafe on the body, rehydrate and keep skin from getting dry or itchy later. Your post-yoga pores are open wide and ready to soak up those healing ingredients and your skin will say thank you!
You may be chugging water during class, but what about before and after? With the excess sweating, it’s important to increase your water intake to avoid dehydration. Dehydration adversely affects your skin by making it overly dry. Too much dryness can cause dead skin and dirt buildup that can clog your pores, so do yourself a favor and make a best friend of your water bottle.
Hot yoga does wonders for our health, and the sweating is all part of the fun! If you go through periods where your skin becomes inflamed and persists for more than a few days even after observing the above guidelines, check in with your local natural health provider or dermatologist. By integrating this natural routine into your daily regimen, our hope is that you can check any skin problems at the door and return to that natural yoga glow in no time.