Should You Remove Your Make-Up When You Exercise?

Should you remove your make-up before exercising?

More and more people use cosmetics when they participate in physical activity, the researchers write in a new study. 

Now they have investigated what happens to the skin if you exercise endurance with make-up on.

The study is published in  the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology  

20 minutes on the treadmill

20 women and 23 men participated in the study. All were aged 23 to 26 years. They used foundation (cream) on half of the face in two different areas (forehead and upper cheek). The other half of the face served as a control.

All participants exercised on a treadmill for 20 minutes after the cream was applied. Next, the skin of each individual participant was assessed. 

Moisture, elasticity, pores and sebum were measured using a skin analysis.

Best to remove make-up

The results show an increase in the skin’s moisture during exercise – regardless of make-up or not. But the humidity increased more in the areas with make-up. This may be because make-up prevents evaporation.

Furthermore, the findings suggest that using foundation during aerobic exercise can cause dryness in the skin. In addition, make-up can clog pores and increase sebum production.

The researchers conclude that make-up should not be recommended for people with dry skin and that it is best for the skin to remove make-up before exercising. 


  1. Yoon E-J, Kwon E. H, Influence of cosmetic foundation cream on skin condition during treadmill exercise. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology r 2024. 
  2. How does wearing makeup affect skin during exercise?, EurekAlert, 2024 
  3. Dr. Liji Thomas, Do you wear makeup while you exercise? New research reveals the effects on skin and pores, 2024