It’s that time of year when everyone is hitting the gym as part of New Year’s resolutions. Of course, exercise has endless health benefits – including some for your skin! Here are some ways exercise may improve the appearance of your skin – and some things to watch out for!
Exercise is essential to positive aging – not only for your body but also for your skin! Exercise has been found to:
Increase Collagen Production - Through increased blood flow, your skin will be able to make more collagen. Exercise increases the rate of blood circulation throughout your body. With improved blood flow, all the cells in your body receive the essential nutrients they need – water, oxygen, vitamins, and minerals – at a faster rate. With regular exercise, you’ll not only have a healthy glow, but the skin on your face will be able to create more of the beneficial compounds responsible for healthy looking skin, such as collagen and elastin.
Clear Pores - Sweating opens the pores in your skin and flushes out dirt and bacteria that can cause acne. Make sure to wash your face after the gym to cleanse your skin of the build-up that was pushed out of your pores by sweating; otherwise, you may be prone to more breakouts!
Decrease Acne - Exercise decreases stress – And can decrease stress-related acne! It is well known that exercise is essential to positive physical, mental, and emotional health. This may be related to the fact that exercise has a direct effect on the amount of the body’s stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is known to cause excess oil production which increases stress-related acne. So, exercise to reduce stress, decrease cortisol production, and reduce breakouts!
But beware! To make sure you are caring for your skin before and after you exercise, take these additional precautions:
Remove Make-Up Prior to Exercise - Make-up on your skin while you workout can prevent the sweat from pushing out all the harmful, acne-causing dirt and bacteria and worse – further clog your pores. To quickly and easily remedy this, just remove your make-up with a gentle cleanser or an oil-free face wipe prior to exercise.
Wipe Down All Equipment - To prevent the introduction of more dirt and bacteria onto your skin, wipe down all exercise equipment prior to use. This includes all shared equipment but also your personal equipment, such as your yoga mat. You can further limit transferring foreign bacteria to your skin by avoiding touching your face, a good habit to have anyway. Try carrying a clean towel with you to wipe sweat.
Wash Your Face After Exercising - It is essential to cleanse your face after exercising to prevent break-outs. While sweating can help clear your pores of dirt and bacteria, if you let the sweat sit dry on your skin after a workout, the dirt and bacteria from your pores are trapped on your face, creating the perfect breeding ground for acne. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser such as Frownies pH Balance Face Wash.
As long as you are taking these few simple precautions, healthy glowing skin is another amazing benefit you’ll get from exercising regularly!
By: Dr. Megan C. Wright, PT, DPT
Megan C. Wright, PT, DPT is an authority in health and wellness content with over ten years of clinical experience as well as a freelance health writer. Megan received a BA in English from the University of Virginia and earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Marymount University. Megan lives outside Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two young boys.