Have you ever noticed your post-workout glow? Besides dripping in sweat and struggling with sore muscles, your skin usually has a healthy shine to it. While physical activity is popularly known to strengthen your heart, muscles, and overall health - it does wonders for your skin as well.
Regular exercise is one of the keys to glowing skin - it nourishes your skin cells and keeps it vital. It works by increasing the blood flow in your body - any activity that does this is beneficial for healthy skin. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all working cells in the body, including the skin. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry the waste products, from working cells of your body.
In this blog post, we will dive into the benefits of exercise for your skin along with taking you through your entire workout skin care routine. Although a simple read, we hope that you implement some of these tips into your lifestyle. So, how does exercise benefit your skin?
- Sweat it out
The smell of sweat may not be pleasing, but ironically it does clear out your skin. Sweat allows your body to get rid of toxins that clog your pores and cause blemishes. We’ll explain in detail later on, but always wash off your sweat! Exercising helps flush out your pores but if you don’t clean your skin after, you will discredit the positive effects exercise can have on your skin. Plus, all the sweating cleans out the pores removing toxins from the congested and clogged skin. It also helps skin cell regeneration - like a sauna session for your pores!
Although good for every organ in the body, your skin is most rewarded as it is the largest organ of the body. Sweat also acts as a body cooler during your workout, maintaining your body at a healthy temperature.
Tighten it up
Cortisol - the stress related hormone - levels are well maintained while you exercise. A high level of cortisol causes acne breakouts and collagen breakdown in your skin leading to wrinkles and saggy skin. A effective workout helps your body produce collagen, allowing your skin to be firm.
We’re still young, glow up
It is known widely that exercise also helps reverse skin aging. Stress and dehydration are the two main reasons for dry and patchy skin. The first thing you need to do is to keep yourself hydrated. Water carries oxygen and in return, it increases blood circulation. You can’t deny your post workout glow - wondering how that happens while you struggle for breath? Aerobic exercise causes your heart to pump faster resulting in oxygenated blood being delivered to your skin in high amounts. Oils are also naturally produced by your skin, leaving your skin moisturized.
Research has suggested that exercise helps skin heal itself protecting it from developing skin ailments. If you’re working out outside, don’t forget your sunscreen - SPF of at least 30.
Pro Tip: If you have eczema, wear fabrics that soak perspiration since the wet-dry-wet-dry cycle will dry out your skin and provoke acne or flares to arise
- Keep your skin healthy
Inflammation is known to be one of the crucial causes of almost all chronic conditions. This would include inflammation that affects your skin as well - conditions like acne, psoriasis and rosacea.
Pro Tip: If you experience redness on your skin, or have rosacea, try to avoid aerobic (cardio) exercises as that increases the blood flow aggravating your skin.
- Exercise is said to decrease inflammation in your entire body by producing endorphins. They reduce our stress level, thereby reducing cortisol. Cortisol is said to be aggravate acne as it is part of the body’s inflammation process.
Did you know? Endorphins are hormones that are secreted by the brain and helps with pain relief. They are also a natural ‘feel good’ hormone of the body. These are released during a workout!
Pro Tip: The best way for a psoriasis patient to workout is swimming. Swimming helps build muscle strength and improve your flexibility. Swimming in salt water is especially good because the salt can help your dead skin slough off. The chlorine in a swimming pool, however, can irritate skin affected by psoriasis, so be sure to shower and moisturize as soon as you get out of the water. Not all pools have salt water and most have a high chlorine content. Check with your dermatologist if it's okay to swim. This will depend from patient to patient.
It’s time that you get your mind and body on board to a healthy lifestyle, but don’t let your skin care slack off. We can help you get started with skin care routine before, during and after your workout.
Pro Tip: Although there isn’t a list of the ‘best exercises’ that’s proven to be full proof, there are exercises that are more beneficial than others. Stress-relieving exercises such as yoga helps smooth lines on your face as your face muscles are contracted. It also lowers stress hormone levels, which keeps stress cause breakouts at bay.
PRE WORKOUT SKIN CARE ROUTINE
A lot of people tend to forget to prepare their skin before a workout. This is possibly because most tips are around the topic of skin care after a workout.
- Clean you skin: It’s is already known that excess oil, bacteria and sweat build up on your skin while you workout. Not cleansing your skin before all this buildup, will lead to pores that clog quickly and heavily. Use a gentle facial cleanser before you start your sweat session.
- Moisturize your skin: Dry and dehydrated skin will produce more oils to help itself, allowing a buildup of dead skin cells on the skin. This, on top of more sweat and bacteria buildup during your workout is havoc on your skin. After you cleanse your skin, use a gentle oil free moisturizer. Always use sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage, you can opt for a moisturizer that has SPF.
- Hydrate your skin: Drinking water before you workout or during your warm up keeps you hydrated which will reflect on your skin.
- Skip the makeup: Go bare while you workout, your skin will thank you. Makeup already clogs your pores, and by now you get the gist, clogged pores causes unnecessary breakouts.
SKIN CARE ROUTINE DURING YOUR WORKOUT
When was the last time you heard of a skin care routine during your workout? It is just as important as your pre and post workout skin care routine. During your workout, your pores begin to open making them vulnerable to bacteria, swear and dead skin cells - how can you take precautions to avoid a breakout?
- Wipe down your equipment: While you are at the gym, know that you are in the perfect environment of breeding bacteria. Although, you should not touch your face during your workout, let’s be realistic, how can you remember that while your holding your head up panting after pushups. Cleaning the equipment around you reduces the amount of bacteria that gets on your hands.
- Use a travel size hand sanitizer: Although most indoor facilities offer hand sanitizers, it helps to carry one with you. Try to use the sanitizer after you completed a workout, or used any equipment and of course before and after your workout. This will reduce the amount of bacteria you spread around yourself and in the gym.
- Keep your hair away from your face: No matter the length of your hair, use a hair tie or headband, try to keep it away from your face. The oils from your hair can sweat down to your face during your workout and cause irritation and breakouts on your skin.
Pro Tip: Don’t use headbands that stick to your forehead during your workout, the covers up your pores and doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. Tiny bumps will develop on that area and can result in post workout acne, redness and if not taken care of, scarring.
- Hydrate: Don’t stop drinking water while you workout - you should be drinking at least 7 ounces every 20 minutes. Dehydration can cause dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, and muscle cramping, so avoid it - all you have to do is sip throughout your workout.
- Carry a towel: A easy way to make sure you keep your skin clean, is using a small clean face towel to dab sweat off your skin. This will help remove some of the bacteria and dead skin cell accumulation before your post workout skin care routine. Don’t use the same towel again, or share towels - that’s just an uncalled for germ party!
Pro Tip: Busy lives have taken over - make sure to keep gentle, fragrance free cleansing wipes in your gym bag. During your workouts, try to wipe off as much sweat from your face as possible. This reduces the chances of clogged pores and skin inflammation - this is a great precaution for acne prone skin.
POST WORKOUT SKIN CARE ROUTINE
Although we’re glad you don’t skip out on workouts, don’t skip out on your skin health either. We get that it’s tiring and all you want is a quick shower, but a routine gets easier once you do it for at least a week!
- Cleanse: Wash your face as soon as you can after you’ve completed sweating buckets. Using a cleansing wipe can help for right after while a **mild cleanser **should be used in the shower.
- Moisturize: After a intense workout session, your skin flushes and reddens because of the increase in body heat. Your capillaries are dilated and that increase the body’s core temperature. Use a gentle moisturizer after you’ve cleaned your skin, to soothe it.
Pro Tip: Your face may be the centre of attention, but don’t forget to use anti-bacterial/anti-fungal soap for your body while you shower. Body acne is a thing, and clogged pores can lead to it. If you use communal showers, make sure to always wear flip-flops - do not share footwear at all!
Remember, you should consult a physician or other healthcare professionals before starting a fitness program in order to know if it is the right for your needs. This does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions you should always pay a visit to a physician or other healthcare professional.
The use of any information provided on this site is based on personal experience and it may not work the same for all. It is best advised to consult a professional if you suffer from any such skin conditions. With Remedico, you can consult with a certified dermatologist wherever you are, all from your smartphone. We will send you a personalised treatment plan within 24 hours, and provide you regular follow ups and answers to all your questions.