**Lindsay’s note: This is a guest post by Audrey, a skincare nut turned blogger who won’t go on a morning run without her SPF & day cream. She specializes in unique skincare formulas during the day (and bad reality TV at night.) Check out her breakdown of the best vitamins for your skin type on her blog, Vain Pursuits.
Don’t you just love your end-of-workout face? Bright red, hot, and sweating all over, it can be hard to believe what you just went through was good for your skin after all. Everyone knows exercise has an abundance of positive benefits for both body and mind, but after a scoring a particularly rosy glow at my last gym session, I got to wondering about the relationship between workouts & my skin. As it turns out, exercise affects skincare in complicated ways – some surprising, others, not so much.
Here’s the good, the bad, and the sweaty when it comes to your skincare & exercise. Here are 10 ways exercise affects skincare:
1 ) Working up a good sweat causes your pores to open up, and the moisture from that sweat can help push out trapped dirt and oils. Just make sure to cleanse your face post-workout, so they don’t have the chance to sink back in.
2) Regular exercise will regulate hormones that can potentially mess with your skin. Your dermal arteries open up when you work out, which lets your body deliver nutrients to fight off environmental pollutants. These nutrients also boost your collagen production, which means plumper, youthful skin for you.
3) There are scientific links between exercise and reversing signs of aging – in mice anyway! Scientists speculate exercise could have the same effects on human skin as it does on mice’s fur, but we don’t need to wait for that study to score the immediate skincare benefits of exercise.
4) Toned muscles on the inside equals fuller, tighter skin on the outside! Firm muscles support your skin and minimize the look of cellulite on the surface.
5) Excessive cardio is never a good idea, and that goes for your skin as well. If you’re working out at a high intensity for long stretches of time, your stressed-out body may end up releasing cortisol – the stress hormone exercise is supposed to reduce! Cortisol breaks down collagen, which can negate the skin benefits of working out in the first place. For better skincare results, stick with high intensity intervals or circuit training.
6) In the short term, your skin loves sweat! Sweat molecules contain natural oils that make your skin look healthy and supple. Exercise also helps regulate sebum production, which can be very helpful for people with oily-prone skin. And don’t forget, your workout flush is actually appealing! Humans perceive rosy cheeks as more attractive – no matter what you may think about it personally.
7) As we all know from experience, acne can be triggered by stress. Working out reduces stress & increases endorphins, which means a clearer mind and clearer skin while you’re at it.
8) Your wind-down routine matters for your skin too. Stretching can improve your skin’s appearance by releasing muscle tension.
9) Be smart about the workout clothes you wear. If you end up sweating in tight, non-breathable gear, you’re at risk of getting pimples called folliculitis. Don’t wear workout gear that might worsen pre-existing skin problems, and keep your equipment sanitized so it doesn’t collect dirt and oil.
10) Alas, exercise and fabulous skin are not guaranteed no matter what. Working out can clog pores if you are wearing heavy makeup, not pulling your hair back, or touching your face mid-workout. Bacteria loves moist, humid environments like the gym, so always use a clean, dry towel to pat your face – not your shirt or your hands!
To make sure you’re getting all of the skincare benefits – and none of the bummers – of your workout, I’ve made a handy checklist for your pre, during, and post workout routine:
Hope you learned some great new info on how exercise affects skincare. Good luck getting your workout glow!