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.
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. The only downside? The nasty effects heated yoga can have on your complexion.
After practicing and teaching heated yoga for over two years, I started to wonder what in the world was going on with my skin. I couldn’t kick breakouts, I had a combination of dry and oily spots on my face, and even worse, busted blood vessels around my nose. As a 20-something who was hopeful breakouts were reserved for my younger years, I knew something had to change.
I met with an acne specialist and owner of Spa Kingston in San Diego, Renee Maloney, who confirmed my suspicion that heated yoga was the culprit in my unwanted blast-from-the-past breakouts and skin issues.
"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 on overload and cause adverse or more intense inflamed acne."
Heated yoga can cause increased inflammation in the body. Because acne is inflammation, this causes even more unwanted breakouts and unappealing marks. Add in the humidity, and your skin is working overtime to create more oil in the body. So, what’s a yogi to do? After several months battling breakouts, she and I finally found the perfect natural skin-care routine to combat the unwelcome "friends" on my face.
Whether you love hot yoga or sweaty workouts in general, here's how my dermatologist (and I!) recommend you best take care of your face: