The following content originally appeared on the SoulCycle blog.
Keeping your skin healthy in the winter can be as challenging as doing a SoulCycle triple. So we asked New York City dermatologist ELIZABETH HALE, MD — a longtime Soul rooster! — to share some smart strategies and give us her Soul Story…
We have to ask: What's your skincare regimen before and after Soul?
Since I do Soul early in the AM, my face is clean from the night before, and I have no makeup on. I always apply an antioxidant serum when I first wake up, so that's all I do. It is the only time I leave my apartment without SPF since I usually leave before the sun rises!
And what about afterward?
I strongly recommend showering immediately after class, and if this is not possible, to remove your sports bra and sweaty workout clothes immediately. Because we all sweat so much during SoulCycle, if we leave those sweaty clothes on, we are prone to developing folliculitis, known to some as "back-ne." These breakouts which are common on the upper back and buttocks occur from sweat being trapped under our tight-fitting garments. So, change out of your clothes as soon as possible and clean your skin. If you can't shower, at least wipe down your skin with a cleansing cloth (Neutrogena makes some great ones). And if you are prone to folliculitis, try a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide.
And now that it's dry and f-f-freezing, how should skin care change?
Dry skin is very common in the wintertime, and dry skin tends to get more irritated and more itchy compared to normal skin. It is very important to moisturize your skin to keep the barrier function of the skin intact. Try to use only lukewarm water in the shower, as hot water dries out the skin. The best time to moisturize is while the skin is still moist after bathing or showering to "trap" the moisture in. Well-hydrated skin will feel softer, be more supple, and more likely to withstand the harsh cold weather and other insults like chafing.
Any skin-saving products for dry skin?
Aquaphor is a great product for dry and chapped skin. I keep tubes of it in every bag and a big jar at home. BodyGlide is great to prevent chafing. I apply it under new sports bras, and before long runs. I personally am obsessed with Lifeline Skin Care Recovery Night Moisture Serum, a product based on stem cell extracts, to help my skin recover each night.
Are there any dietary changes that can help your winter skin?
Double your intake of water. Drink, drink, drink! After finishing my bottle of SmartWater at class, I always refill it and make sure I drink that over the next hour or so. We sweat out so much at SoulCycle (which is why we're all hooked), but make sure to replace that H20! Also, I have given up diet soda and feel so much better. It is so unhealthy. I drink lots of water, sparkling waters, and have a lot of soup for lunch in the winter to increase my fluid intake. As always, I recommend an antioxidant-rich, colorful diet, full of fruits and vegetables, to boost our skin's natural defense!
And you've been riding for a long time. What first brought you to SoulCycle?
Throughout medical school and residency, I discovered running to keep me sane. Medical school is very intense, and I began running on a regular basis to let off steam and clear my head. Like clockwork, I ran 5 miles a day, six days a week, as a break from the intensive studying. I eventually built up my mileage and completed several marathons and half marathons. But running was all I did. As a doctor, I know that pounding the pavement can take its toll on one's joints. I heard so many stories from patients, who were avid runners like me, about their knee replacements and hip replacements. But I was nervous to diversify because I thought running was the key to my sanity... Someone suggested SoulCycle, and I tried it initially to diversify my routine and to give my joints a break.
What was your first class like?
My first class was in 2009. I have been hooked ever since. In fact, a couple of years ago, I took a break from running and only did SoulCycle for several months. I wondered if I would survive my next half marathon after not running for so long. To my surprise, although the muscle groups are different, I ran the half without any difficulty. Now, I am back to a blend - SoulCycle three times a week and running once a week. I just completed my 5th marathon and am running my 15th half in April. And my joints feel really good; SoulCycle protects me from over-training injuries which are so common among runners.
Glad to hear it! And with your busy job, Soul must provide a nice break…
Classes at SoulCycle are the only time all week when I clear my head and de-stress. I have a very full life as a mother of three and a co-owner of a busy dermatology practice. SoulCycle is the time I make for myself. It is so important, and the energy and strength I get from it allows me to function at a high level in the other aspects of my life. I have even recommended SoulCycle to patients who clearly need to de-stress or when I can tell that stress is negatively impacting their skin. It's always funny to bump into them at class. It feels good that they follow my advice, and I know they will benefit from SoulCycle like I have! The combination of a super intense workout, the great music, and the soulful words spoken to me by my amazing instructors keep me wanting more. I ALWAYS leave feeling great, fully sweaty and ready to conquer the day.
Know the feeling! Anything you want to add?
I just want to thank the amazing instructors. In the beginning, my regulars were MB, Jenny, Ayana and Charlee. Now it's Emily T, Emma and many others! I want to give a special shout out to Emily Turner who is the only person I regularly wake up for before the sun comes up. I have been riding with her at 6:00 AM twice weekly for two years. I derive such inspiration from her, from my co-riders, and from the energy in that room. I also met one of my closest friends in our "Rooster Club;" it is unusual to meet a new best friend at 41 especially with such a busy life, but SoulCycle made it happen!