For many people, one of the major downsides of exercising is the buildup of sweat, oil, and dirt that can lead to post-workout skin problems. But not only are there simple ways to combat these downsides (stay tuned for Part 2!), few realize that exercise itself can also actually be beneficial to the health of your skin.
While I’m sure we’re all aware of the cardiovascular—and even mental and emotional—benefits of physical activity, here are a few advantages that speak specifically to skin health:
- Increases circulation.
Exercise increases blood flow, which in turn helps to revitalize skin cells. This is because blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients into cells while carrying waste products out (no cost free radical removal, anyone?).
In this way, healthy circulation helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant. It’s like cleansing the inside of your skin.
- Decreases stress.
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress. Other studies have gone on to show that the sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones. The general theory, then, is that, by reducing stress, working out may also help to improve skin issues that are exacerbated by high stress levels.
So, if you suffer from stress-induced conditions such as acne or eczema, regular physical activity may help you to combat your symptoms.
- Unclogs pores.
Another advantage of exercise is sweating. When you sweat, impurities like ammonia, urea, salt, and sugar are flushed from your skin. And while sweat itself neither hurts nor helps problems such as acne, the unclogging of pores from sweating is certainly a benefit.
So don’t hate on that salty substance coming out of your skin as you work out! It’s your skin’s way of getting rid of impurities.
All in all, you shouldn’t let fear of worsening skin issues get in the way of a healthy exercise routine—in fact, you’d be missing out on some pretty significant natural skin care benefits!
But while exercise has some definite advantages for skin care, there are also ways that it can work against you if you’re not taking proper care of your skin before, during, and after. Check out Part 2 of this two-part series to see how you can optimize your workout routine so that you get all the healthy skin benefits of physical activity with none of the downsides!