The moment I stepped inside a heated yoga studio, I knew I could never go back to the days of humidity-free classes. There’s something so gratifying about taking a hot yoga class. Maybe it’s the way my muscles open with ease or the way my breath deepens almost automatically. Whatever the case, I’ve been hooked on hot yoga since day one.
What Is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga has been an amazing addition to my practice and has truly allowed me to deepen my relationship with the body and breath. The benefits of hot yoga are plentiful. From heavy sweating that flushes out the toxins in your body (goodbye hangover!) to cardiovascular intensity, heated yoga has made a name for itself as a preferred practice across the nation and, if your skin is taken care of correctly, can be amazing for achieving a radiant glow.
What Are The Benefits of Hot Yoga?
I met with certified acne specialist and owner of Spa Kingston in San Diego, Renee Maloney, to learn the best practices for keeping your skin safe and and healthy while practicing in a heated room. Because the studio can be anywhere from 93-110 degrees, I wanted to be sure I was equipped!
“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,” says Maloney, however, “hot yoga causes the body to heat up which then can increase already inflamed skin. This heat and excess elimination can cause areas of inflammation to go in overload and cause adverse or more intense inflamed acne so it’s important to wash the face with cold water immediately after practicing to avoid unwanted breakouts and redness.”
Yikes! So what’s a yogi to do? After several months with Spa Kingston, we put together the perfect natural skin care routine to work with that amazing benefits of hot yoga while avoiding redness, inflammation or breakouts:
A natural cleanser was key for helping me neutralize and clean the skin. The ingredients in most facial products are packed with unknown chemicals, so finding a natural skincare line can make all the difference. On days when I’m practicing, I wash my face in the morning, after yoga, and right before bed with lukewarm water or cold water.
Ice Your Face
Out of all the changes I made to my skincare regimen, this one made the biggest difference. After cleansing, take 1-2 minutes to rub an ice cube across your face. Similar to icing a swollen ankle, applying ice to the face reduces inflammation that is built up during your practice. For acne prone skin, Maloney recommends adding this into your skincare routine every morning and night.
We don’t always have time to ice right after practice, but if you do, take the few minutes to add in this step. Your face will thank you after!
A Splash of Cold Water
Sometimes you don’t have access to a tray of ice cubes – I know I don’t! If you find yourself running from the yoga studio to work without time to ice your face, a splash of cold water will work, but make sure you’re using clean filtered water to avoid the hidden chemicals found in tap water.
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 on days that you practice to avoid dehydration. Dehydration adversely affects your skin by making it overly dry. Too much dryness can cause dead skin and dirt build up that can clog your pores, so do yourself a favor and keep your water bottle close on days that you practice.
Use A Natural Moisturizer
As someone with oily skin, when I was a teen I avoided moisturizer like the plague. It wasn’t until I met with my aesthetician that I realized how crucial moisturizer is to balancing the skin. Many times when you have problematic skin, you skip moisturizer altogether, but by skipping this step, your skin will dry out and respond with more oil production. This vicious cycle actually causes more breakouts.
For me, I stick to Face Reality’s Hydrabalance Gel and apply it every night after icing my face. If you’re looking for a new moisturizer, look for the brands like this one that are non-comedogenic.
Heated yoga can be an amazing addition to your fitness routine. Embracing the sweat is all apart of the fun! Check your skincare problems at the studio door by integrating this natural routine into your daily regimen. Return to that natural yoga-glow in no time.