12 Dermatologists Reveal What They Always Keep in Their Gym Bags

Updated: Apr. 21, 2017

Ever wonder how the pros do it? These are the exercise essentials that derms wouldn't dream of working out without.

via SkinCeuticals, Aveeno, Neutrogena

Scrub + cream cleanser + gel moisturizer

Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City, rotates between strength training, swimming, and running—and switches up his post-workout products accordingly. “I always pack an exfoliating cleanser, like SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub, for when I work up a good sweat (cardio days), and a gentle, cream cleanser, like Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser, for after a lighter workout.” He also carries Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel (it’s also in his office bag). “I love it because it’s lightweight and helps hydrate my skin without feeling like there’s something on my face.” Looking for a new workout to add your fitness regimen? Check out the 10 calorie-blasting workouts you’ll definitely want to try this spring.

via Elta MD, Glowbiotics, Vanicream

Tinted SPF + calming serum + moisturizing cream

It’s also about multitasking for Heather D. Rogers, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Modern Dermatology in Seattle, Washington. She always carries UV Daily Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 because it works as a sunscreen, moisturizer and makeup. (After a super rigorous FlyWheel or SoulCycle class, she gets rid of redness and gives her skin a youth-boost with Glowbiotics MD Calm After the Storm, before applying moisturizer). Even her favorite moisturizer, Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream, does double duty for face and body. If you like multitasking products, you’ll love these tricks to speed up and simplify your beauty routine.

via Pan Oxyl, Zeasorb

Acne wash + absorbent powder

Sweating is great for your body, but can sometimes take its toll on skin. So Patrick Blake, MD, board-certified dermatologist in San Diego, California, stocks his gym bag with products to get fresh and clean and after sweaty boxing and Muay Thai sessions. “I carry a bottle of Panoxyl Creamy Acne Wash, 4% Benzoyl Peroxide and use it as a body wash to avoid breakouts. When it’s humid—and I know I’ll sweat again when I go outside—I put Zeasorb Super Absorbent Powder in my clean shoes before I leave the locker room, so my feet stay dry.”

via Goody Ouchless, Coppertone

Fabric hair ties + SPF 50

Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California, knows how important it is to keep greasy strands off her face while working out. She packs Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastic, which hold hair snug without pulling or causing breakage. “Morning workouts mean that I step out of the gym into the bright sunlight. Even the short walk to the car can expose skin to enough UV to cause damage over time.” She packs Coppertone Clearly Sheer Faces Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 to reapply after exercising. Looking for more MD-approved sunscreen? Check out the UV protectors dermatologists trust enough to use on themselves.

via DCL Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories, shutterstock

Balancing cleanser + water bottle + banana

When Robin Evans, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Southern Connecticut Dermatology, works out and showers at the gym, she never uses those generic soaps on her face, which tend to be drying and harsh. Instead, she brings her own—specifically DCL Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories Balancing Cleanser. And it’s not just her skin that needs hydrating. “I always bring a water bottle with me and make sure to drink lots of water before, during, and after I exercise. And I pack a banana to replenish electrolytes lost from sweating.” Looking for more post-workout snacks? Find out what fitness instructors really eat to refuel after exercising.

via Lierac Paris, shutterstock

Micellar water + lip balm

Removing makeup before working out is a must! Debra Jaliman, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City, transfers Lierac Paris Demaquillant Douceur – Micellar Cleansing Water to a travel-size container and keeps it in her gym bag. “Also, my lips tend to get dry when I workout, so I always carry EOS Lip Balm, which contains shea butter and vitamin E.” Chapped pout? It might be from one of these 10 mistakes you didn’t realize you were making.

via Kirklan, Colorescience

Baby wipes + mineral sunscreen powder

Allison Arthur, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Sand Lake Dermatology in Orlando, Florida, stocks her gym bag with Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes to quickly remove sweat post-workout. “I have sensitive skin, so I choose fragrance-free wipes.” She also never leaves home without her Colorescience Sunforgettable Loose Mineral Sunscreen Brush Broad Spectrum SPF 50. “After sweating off my sunscreen during a workout, I need to reapply before leaving the gym. The self-dispensing brush is the easiest way to apply sunscreen without a mess.” (This gym-bag makeover will make you psyched to start sweating.)

LamisilAT, Neutrogena

Anti-fungal spray + hand cream

“I always bring LamisilAT Anti-Fungal Continuous Spray to protect against foot and nail fungus, which are commonly found in gym locker rooms and showers,” says Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine. She also packs Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Fast Absorbing Hand Cream to moisturize and repair skin after weight lifting. In addition to slathering on lotion, find out the other ways to make your hands look younger.

via Simple, La Roche Posay, Oribe

Face wipes + gentle cleanser + texturizing spray

Cleansing before and after working out is key to keeping skin clear and healthy. Sejal Shah, MD, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, counts a gentle cleanser and face wipes among her gym bag must-haves.”The nice thing about La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser is that you don’t necessarily need to rinse it off—and can use a tissue or cotton ball. It’s also very hydrating.” Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes are super handy, she finds, because besides the face, they can also be used on the body after working out if there’s no time to shower. “I love Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray for my hair. They make a ‘purse size’ that’s perfect for my gym bag.” No time to shower? No problem. Don’t miss these tips and tricks to freshen up post-workout (sans shower).


Flip flops + clean clothes

No one wants funky toenails or athlete’s foot. The best way to prevent these conditions? Always wear flip flops in the shower and locker room, and never step on the floor barefoot. Also, always bring a change of clothes to the gym. Getting back into your gym clothes after showering isn’t sanitary.

via cetaphil, Avene, tizo

Gentle cleanser + thermal water spray + SPF 40

Keeping skin looking great while staying active lifestyle can be a challenge. Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology of Boca, stays prepared with a few key products. He always packs TIZO Ultra Zinc Body and Face Sunscreen SPF 40 Non-Tinted for his outdoor cycling workouts. It’s critical to cleanse skin after an intense workout session. His go-to is Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. He also carries Avene Thermal Spring Water to hydrate and refresh post-workout.

via arrid, beautyrx

Cleansing pads + aerosol antiperspirant

“The most important time to clean your face is before working out,” says Neal Schultz, MD, board-certified dermatologist and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz. “I practice what I preach to my clients. One quick swipe of BeautyRx Anytime Pads removes all the oil, dirt, and debris that has accumulated on my skin during the day. Post-workout, he swears by ARRID Extra Dry Regular Aerosol. “It sets with virtually no residue and keeps me dry, no matter what the pressures or stress of the day may bring.” Struggling with sweat? These are the 11 deodorant mistakes you need to stop making.