The other day a personal trainer I know was confused. She had signed up a new client, but they had asked if they could just put their sessions on hold for a few weeks as they were having her eyebrows microbladed. This confused said trainer as she couldn’t work out why eyebrows might stop a workout. I had to admit, I didn’t know either and so I decided to ask a few experts and get all the facts about exercise after microblading.
What is Microblading?
I knew it had something to do with making eyebrows look fabulous, but I have to admit, other than that I wasn’t quite sure. If you’re a bit like me here’s a quick explanation.
Microblading is a form of semi-permanent makeup that makes brows look thicker and bushier.
It’s applied by making tiny scratches with a fine blade along the brows. Pigment is then applied over these and seeps into the cuts creating the illusion of extra brow hairs.
It’s not the same as a tattoo as no needle is used, it’s also semi-permanent so the colour will fade over time. You’ll normally need a touch up in about 12 months – although results can last a couple of years.
Look here’s a before and after microblading pic to show you exactly what happens. Looks nice right, but what does this have to do with working out.
Why Can’t You Exercise After Microblading?
Quick answer, sweat.
Because microblading breaks the skin, the treated area needs to be kept away from two things – moisture and bacteria – and sweat can expose it to both. ‘Sweating after microblading might increase risk of infection,’ explains eyebrow guru Laura Kay from Laura Kay London. ‘Infection would affect the healing of the skin. It’s also quite normal to get a few side effects after microblading like flaking, tenderness, itching, swelling or redness and exercising could aggravate these, so it’s really important that you stick to the advice not to exercise.’
Another reason why it’s a bad idea to work out after microblading; it might mess up your result says Sonu from One Stop Tanning and Beauty in Islington. ‘Once your microblading is done the skin needs to heal over the stroke lines properly to maximise the retention of the ink,’ she told us. ‘As this happens a scab will form which should flake away on its own – and the dryer the area the better the result.’
Sonu goes on to explain this by thinking about what happens if you get a normal cut on your hand, the scab forms but washing your hand makes the scab soggy and to heal the scab then needs to form again. This process slows healing – ‘but it also potentially affects the crispness of the microbladed hair strokes which means you might not end up with such clear lines.’
Note: There’s a whole load of debate in the microblading community about whether you should use healing balms to keep things moist (not the same as wet), or let the skin dry out. And how you should clean your brows (although everyone agrees submerging your face or brows totally in water is a no-no). I’m not getting into any of that here as you should work with your technician and their process – I’m just covering the fitness side of things.
How Long Until You Can Start Working Out After Microblading?
Two weeks is really safe, say both of our experts – but you might be able to do a light workout within 7-10 days if everything is healing well and you don’t sweat!
‘If you don’t sweat it’s okay, so you could do some normal walking, maybe some gentle yoga – but excess activities will just risk you scratching, running or picking the treated area which could cause the colour to heal unevenly, cause scarring or lead to infection,’ says Laura.
Obviously, this does not include swimming – and stay out of the jacuzzi, steam room or sauna! In fact, these last three should actually be avoided for a full four weeks says Laura. And if you do go swimming, use a protective balm to prevent chlorine fading the colour.
So, basically, post-microblade is a time where it’s best to be safe, not sorry – use it as a time to regroup, to plan some new workout ideas and fire yourself up ready to start again. In fact, we have a post on just what you can do to work on your fitness when you can’t work out so try some of these maybe.
Will the Break Affect Your Fitness?
Now, for some the excuse to have two weeks off the gym might sound appealing – for others, it’s going to drive you slightly to distraction and might even send you into a bit of a panic, but is two weeks really going to make that much difference to your fitness level?
I decided to ask trainer Julia Buckley. ‘The best way to approach this for people keen on fitness would be to book the treatment at a time where a time that suits your training schedule,’ she told me.
‘For example, if you’re a runner and have a big race planned like a marathon or half marathon obviously it wouldn’t be a good idea to take two weeks of complete rest while you’re training for the event. However, if you got it done just after your race (I mean a day or two after, not literally right after!) you could enjoy the time out while your body recovers.
If you don’t go in for events you could periodise your training around it. Build up gradually in the weeks before your treatment and maybe do a few epic workouts in the days before and then take the two weeks as recovery time.
Even if you don’t do this, a fortnight of missed training isn’t a disaster by any means. There’s no need to be completely sedentary, you can do activities like gentle walking and that would be a good idea so you don’t end up feeling too sluggish when you come back to regular training.
Be ready for the first couple of sessions to feel like a slog after the two-week break, but you’ll probably find that your body returns to its previous fitness and strength levels fairly quickly once you’ve blown the cobwebs off with those first few workouts. Especially if you’ve been nourishing your body with good nutrition during your time out.
Don’t make the mistake of diving back into your training with the same intensity of workout you were doing before the break. You’d risk injury and it’d also probably be hell – which is not exactly motivating for your next session!
Give yourself permission to start with something easy and manageable. Gradually build up the intensity with a view to reaching your previous level after a few weeks – how many weeks will depend on where you were before but give it at least a fortnight. The main thing is, don’t stress it! Fitness is a lifelong journey and a couple of weeks out, if planned well, will have very little impact on your progress through the year.’
So, there you go – I have learned something new and now know exactly why you can’t exercise after microblading. Best I go tell my trainer friend now.
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Image posed by model.