You know all about how working out can make you feel and look healthier, but did you know exercise affects your skin and can actually be good for your body?
It’s true! While it’s well-documented that getting your sweat on can help with conditions including high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and even anxiety and depression; it can also give your skin a big boost!
Knowing your skin type and treating your skin well is always important. Adding exercise to your regular skincare routine, and knowing how to treat your skin after a workout, can also make a world of difference.
Your Skin Needs Oxygen!
When you exercise, your whole body is working to get oxygen to your muscles through your bloodstream. As your heart rate increases, along with the blood flow throughout your body, your skin’s cell turnover will be boosted. This process will allow your top layer of skin, made up of mostly dead skin cells that are not “breathing,” to turn over in favor of new collagen-filled cells. It’s like giving your skin a bit of a facial — but instead of a high-priced esthetician exfoliating your face, you’re doing it yourself for free while you workout!
The result? You’ll notice your skin having fewer breakouts and appearing more radiant and even younger-looking after you start working out regularly. In addition to increased cell turnover as your adrenaline is pumped up, your pores will expand when you sweat, allowing your skin to push out any unwanted oil and dirt that are causing clogging. It’s like an actual detox!
Simple Pre- and Post-Workout Skincare
Make sure to drink ample amounts of water, ensuring you stay properly hydrated before and after your workout. It’ll help boost your energy, help you avoid cramps and encourage your body to sweat healthily.
Make sure to always wear sunscreen when you workout outdoors and incorporate sun protection to your everyday skin care routine, even when you’re not exercising. Protecting your face’s delicate skin from the harmful UV rays will keep you looking youthful and may prevent wrinkles!
To keep your face as clean and clear as possible, remember to remove any makeup and give your skin a quick cleanse before your workout — this way, there aren’t any excess chemicals blocking your pores as they try to remove any additional dirt and oil build up as you’re sweating. As you’re working out, avoid touching your face. Doing so may transfer more dirt into your expanded pores and causing breakouts.
After your workout, don’t forget to give your skin some extra TLC as well. Rinse your skin with lukewarm water and follow up by using a gentle cleanser after the gym (avoid any overly harsh exfoliants— these can cause your skin to dry out) and follow up with a good moisturizer. This last step will help you to restore a hydrated plumpness to your skin. Using pre- and post-workout skin care products with natural ingredients that work to give your skin back its natural resilience, smoothness and youthful glow can aid in restoring or maintaining your best skin possible.
Without getting overly technical, scientists have long examined the connection between stress and anxiety and skin breakouts. Stress can trigger hormones that produce excess oil beneath your skin, which can lead to clogged pores. Unfortunately, it isn’t just teenagers going through puberty who fall victim to this; even adults can experience unwanted acne as a result of hormone-related stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, seven out of every 10 adults say they experience stress or anxiety every day, so if this sounds familiar, you’re certainly not alone.
Luckily, working out is known to naturally release endorphins that can relieve stress or simply make you feel happier. If you use physical activity to combat the stresses of everyday life, you’re already doing quite a bit to prevent acne. As a result, you’ll likely see improvements in your skin’s quality, too!
Total Body Care
In addition to contributing to smoother, more vibrant and healthy skin on your face, working out can give your entire body a post-exercise glow.
By boosting the flow of oxygen throughout your entire body during a workout, you’re also increasing blood flow beneath your skin. As a result, the skin on top of your blood vessels will appear more plump and vibrant after you exercise. This effect can last for hours after a workout, too! And if you continue to work out regularly, your body will naturally create more collagen, which is a big contributor to the look of firmer and younger-looking skin.
Be sure to treat the skin all over your body with special care pre- and post-workout. Taking a warm shower or bath after a good sweat will help keep your pores open and therefore allow any sweat and grime that’s built up to be removed more easily. Moisturizing your entire body after your shower will also ensure that your skin remains hydrated and doesn’t dry out.
Bonus Side Effects
So, you can see how exercising regularly can directly lead to improved skin, but did you know there are also several positive side effects of a routine workout that can also help your skin?
People who exercise regularly tend to crave healthier foods, like lean proteins and vegetables. This can help boost your metabolism and aid in maximizing a good exercise session’s ability to burn fat. Your skin actually craves certain foods that meet its nutritional needs. For more information, Fitness Magazine has a good breakdown of foods that promote health, wellness, and skin care. (Believe it or not, chocolate is actually number one!)
Exercising also requires you to hydrate your body more and drinking lots of water — not only before and after your workout, but all day long — can give your skin a huge boost! Even when you’re not actively sweating at the gym, water will hydrate your skin cells and encourage them to detoxify without losing the moisture they crave. So, drinking lots of water as part of your daily routine will keep your skin extra satisfied, vibrant, and glowing.
Finally, people who follow exercise routines tend to have good sleep habits. Sleeping is the best time for your body to rebuild and rejuvenate itself. If you have a workout schedule that encourages you to get solid sleep regularly, your skin cells will also thank you. There are lots of important processes that your body undergoes while you get some much-needed beauty rest, and that includes creating more collagen for your skin cells. Moisturizing your skin before bed will provide your pores the hydration they crave and allow for smoother cell turnover. Wake up feeling well-rested and your skin will look beautiful!
Beverly Goldberg is a freelance writer and skin care enthusiast based in Los Angeles, CA. She loves studying new products and often writes reviews about up and coming brands. She continually contributes to Bright Horizon Web and in her free time, she enjoys gardening.