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Exercise: Good or bad for your skin?

January 6, 2021

We have many clients express concern that exercise is actually causing or exacerbating their acne. So we thought in this new year when some of you might have “exercise more” on your list of resolutions, it might be a good time to address this topic.

First and foremost – exercise is good for you. Period. The more fit you become, the more energy you have. Physicians recommended at least 20 minutes per day of elevated heart rate to improve your heart health and metabolism. Exercise not only makes your body more healthy, it’s crucial for mental health as well. You can maintain your weight with exercise and get those awesome endorphins that everyone who exercises frequently gushes about.

So we know exercise is good now… right? But how does it affect our skin?

Many ways. The skin is the body’s largest organ so anything we do on a day-to-day basis is going to have either a positive or negative effect on it. One of the direct benefits of aerobic exercise is increased circulation and the delivery of more oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and skin. Skin repair accelerates. When we sweat, our body excretes salts and impurities through our sweat pores (different than the hair follicles where pimples form). Getting rid of these waste products helps us stay healthier – just make sure you wash your skin within 30 minutes after working out.

And mentally that “glow” some people talk about post exercise? It’s a real thing – it’s a mix of increased blood circulation and endorphins all bundled up together to make you feel happier and content.

Those are some of the BENEFITS of exercise on your skin.  But what are the negatives?  There are only a few things to consider – remember exercise is GOOD! 

If you exercise outside, you will have increased sun exposure. And we all know what is coming next right??  SUNSCREEN will be your new best friend. Doctors recommend applying SPF30 or higher every 2 hours when outside.  And when it comes to your face in particular, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat to prevent any exposure at all to the sun and its harmful UV rays.  Excessive exposure will lead to skin cancer and wrinkles… not to mention breakouts!

Do not exercise with any topical medications on your skin. Doing so will cause irritation and future breakouts. So remember to wash your face prior to doing your workout if you have medication on your skin.

And finally, while exercise and sweating is great, make sure you wash your skin within 30 minutes AFTER your work out to prevent future breakouts.

Note: if you are a swimmer, you will also be exposed to chlorine and other chemicals which may require some specific skincare tips – so please reach out if that is the case. 

Net net? Get moving. Get healthy. Lose weight. Watch your diet. Feel energized. Live longer And… wash your face.

 

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