It's a known fact that exercise does the body good, but what about the skin? Skin is an organ so it makes sense that exercise will help keep it healthy, youthful and glowing. Discover the possible benefits working out has for your skin and how to maximize them.
The list of health benefits with regular exercise is endless. It can decrease the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, some types of cancer and even mental conditions like depression. Plus, it’s a great stress reliever. These are all good things – but what about your skin? Does exercise have benefits for the part of your body that’s the first to show your age?
Does Exercise Have Skin Anti-aging Benefits?
Looking for the magic anti-wrinkle cream or pill? Save your money and try exercising instead. Exercise can be beneficial to your skin because it helps keep inflammation in check. Although you generate free radicals during exercise, your body becomes better at dealing with them so they’re less damaging. One reason exercise lowers the risk of chronic diseases comes from its ability to reduce inflammation and make your body more efficient at dealing with free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals also damage collagen and elastin tissue that keeps your skin firm and youthful. Regular exercise may actually slow the skin aging process by helping your skin offset free radical damage. Be aware however that if you exercise outdoors and don’t wear a sunscreen consistently, you’ll accelerate the skin aging process by exposing your skin to damaging ultraviolet light. Always protect yourself with SPF 35 or higher.
Does Exercise Help or Hinder if You Have Acne?
Some people who have acne are afraid to work up a sweat. They’re convinced that sweating makes their acne worse. A study published in Pediatric Dermatology found no increase in acne outbreaks among exercisers who sweated during their workout. Another study carried out by Stanford University School of Medicine also found no link between exercise-induced sweating and acne. It also showed no link between the amount of sweating during exercise, time spent
sweating or the interval between exercise and showering and acne outbreaks. Some people believe that sweating during exercise helps to open up clogged pores and release pore-clogging materials that trigger acne.
Here’s something to keep in mind. If you have acne on your body, avoid tight-fitting clothing when you work out. There’s a type of acne called acne mechanica that’s triggered by wearing tight clothing that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. If possible, wear moisture-wicking fabrics. Stress is an acne trigger for some people and a vigorous workout helps to keep stress in check.
Exercise Brightens Your Skin
Ever notice the glow your skin has after a workout? Exercise increases heart rate and blood flow, delivering more nutrients to the outer layer of your skin as well as the deeper layer called the dermis. It’s the increased blood flow and oxygen that gives your skin that post-exercise glow. Who needs blush after a workout? No one!
Skin Conditions That May Be Aggravated By Exercise
For some people, exercise can aggravate certain skin conditions including rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. If you have rosacesa, exercise in a cool environment. Heat can worsen the redness and skin flushing that people with rosacesa experience. If you have eczema or psoriasis, wear lose clothing so sweat doesn’t build up. Sweat can aggravate both conditions. Be sure to moisturize before and after exercise.
Exercise may have benefits for your skin that can help you attain that beautiful, youthful flow we're all looking for – but also be aware of the pitfalls... always use sunscreen when exercising outdoors and if you do have one of the skin conditions listed above, be aware of your exercise environment. If you take the proper steps to care for your skin, it will radiate for you!
If you'd like to get healthy, exercise and have glowing skin consider a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified trainer, and certified nutritionist.
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235
Science Daily. “Caffeine and Exercise May Be Protective Against Skin Cancer
Caused by Sun Exposure, Study Suggests”
Pediatr Dermatol. 2008 Jan-Feb;25(1):126-8.
Medscape Medical News. “Exercise Does Not Appear to Increase Risk of Acne”
WebMD. “Skin Benefits From Exercise: Tone Skin, Collagen and More”