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?
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, not least as it’s semi-permanent so the colour will fade over time. You’ll normally need a touch up appointment 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.’
Working Out After Microblading Can Also Spoil Results
This is another reason why it’s a bad idea to work out after microblading; 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 – but 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.’
So When Can You Workout 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.
Oh and all of the above also goes for if you’ve just had a touch-up appointment.
What About Swimming After Microblading?
Not for at least a fortnight. The brows should not be submerged in water for at least two weeks (even dunking your head under when you have a bath is a no-no).
When you do go swimming, wear a protective balm to give further protection and prevent chlorine fading the colour.
Lastly, stay out of the jacuzzi, steam room or sauna! These should actually be avoided for a full four weeks says Laura.
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 when your brows are completely healed.
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 cause 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 your microblading appointment 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.
However, if you got your microblading treatment or touch up appointment 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 that the complete healing process takes 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 that lead to minimal sweating, 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!
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.’
How Else to Look After Your Microbladed Brows
So, now you know all about fitness and microblading, you might be wondering what else you can do to keep your brows looking sharp and maximise the longevity of your new look. For this, we asked Alice Nicholls, a tattoo and semi-permanent make-up artist with over 10 years’ experience, based at The Fine Art of Tattoo in Colchester for some tips.
‘Micro-blading is an invasive treatment and it’s important the healing skin has the right environment to first produce a protective scab, then heal effectively making sure the pigment stays true and strong,’ she says. So…
Steer Clear of Alcohol and Caffeine
Both of these thin the blood and should be avoided both before, and for 48 hours, after your microblade treatment. Thinning the blood can affect healing time, slowing it down and ultimately affecting the outcome of your new brows.
Stay Hydrated – Inside and Out
Drink plenty of water to keep the skin healthy during the healing process and make sure you use an aftercare with the best nutrients to give your skin an extra hydrating boost.
But be careful, some creams and ointments can contain chemicals that can not only irritate and dry skin they can adversely affect the pigment, dulling your new colour.
Alice sells her own balms designed to work with both oily and dry skins: to help ensure pigment stays looking bright and fresh. Smooth a little balm over brows once or twice a day.
Four Tattoo After Care balms cost £15 and work on brows – and tattooes. They’re also vegan friendly.
Oh, and while we’re there, if you’re considering an actual tattoo you might also want to check out our post on when you can exercise after a tattoo.
Keep Out of the Sun
This might be important for those of you who exercise outside – UV rays and sensitive newly bladed brows don’t mix.
If you can’t avoid direct sun exposure, then at least apply sunscreen – but Alice suggests using a physical sunscreen, like those containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, rather than chemical sunscreens which penetrate the skin. These are kinder to sensitive skin – like your healing brows.
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.
If you want to check out the whole series, then have a look at our When Can You archive page where you’ll find all of them,
Image posed by model.