You already know that exercise gives you toned thighs and beautiful biceps, but can it do good things for your skin too? Exercise has definite skin benefits, but there are some precautions you should take when you exercise to keep your skin healthy.
Exercise Increases Blood Flow to the Skin
When you exercise your heart rate rises and blood flow increases. This sends more oxygen and nutrients to your skin. According to dermatologist Ellen Marmu M.D, a dermatology professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, it also transports waste products, free radicals, and debris away from your skin. This can make the skin look and feel healthier.
If you’ve ever had a steam facial, you’ve probably noticed that your skin glows afterward. Exercise does the same thing. It increases blood flow and gives your skin a glow that lasts for hours. Who needs a facial when you can work up a sweat exercising and benefit your heart, lungs, muscles, and skin at the same time?
Exercise May Benefit Some Skin Conditions
Some skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo are worsened by stress, and exercise is a natural stress reliever. One precaution. Exercise can exacerbate some skin conditions short-term. This is especially true of people who have a skin condition called rosacea.
People with rosacea are prone towards flushing, skin redness, red skin bumps and visible blood vessels on the surface of their skin. Exercise can trigger the symptoms of rosacea in some people. To avoid aggravating rosacea, work out in a moderate temperature environment and split your workout into several shorter intervals to reduce overheating. Exercise with no makeup on, and drink plenty of water.
Exercise can also trigger acne outbreaks in some people short-term because of the sweat factor. If you have acne, exercise in a cool environment and cleanse your skin immediately afterward.
Some Skincare Precautions When You Exercise
It’s nice to get the natural glow that exercise brings but not if it comes from sun exposure. If you run or work out outdoors wear a waterproof sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 30. Fit your workout in before 9:00 A.M. or after 4:00 P.M. when you’ll get less intense UV exposure. If you work out indoors, apply a light moisturizer but avoid wearing makeup. This is a chance for your skin to “breathe.”
When you exercise avoid tight-fitting clothing. When you wear tight clothing, especially clothing made of synthetic fabrics, you increase your risk of developing a condition called acne mechanica. These are acne-like breakouts that come from heat and the friction of tight clothing rubbing against the skin. Choose light, loose-fitting cotton fabrics or moisture-wicking fabrics when you exercise.
Intense exercise increases the production of free radicals. Free radical production can damage collagen and elastin fibers that give skin its youthful appearance. To counter these effects, add more antioxidant-rich foods to your diet such as fresh fruits and vegetables and increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet to help ward off the effect of exercise-induced free radicals.
The Bottom Line?
Exercise not only buffs up your body, but it can also improve the appearance of your skin as well. To get the benefits of exercise without the risks, wear a sunscreen when you exercise outdoors, choose loose clothing and add more foods rich in antioxidants to your diet.
Psychology Today. “Improve Your Skin with Exercise”
WebMD. “Skin Benefits From Exercise”