exercise and your skin

Exercise is vital to maintaining your health, both physically and mentally, but it also has the ability to improve and enhance the appearance of your skin.

Exercise can vastly improve your skin’s appearance, while contributing to its overall health in a multitude of ways – even helping to delay signs of ageing. 

Check out these 4 ways exercise can enhance the appearance of your skin:

Exercise helps to clean out your pores 

As you sweat, your pores begin to flush out their contents – dirt, pollution, sebaceous filaments and oil  all of which are risk factors for acne breakouts, blemishes, and blackheads. 

After a workout, you should make sure to wash your face, rinsing away the substances ‘flushed out’ of your pores, and removing any lingering sweat that can attract bacteria to your skin and contribute to blemishes

Wearing make-up or heavy skin-care products while exercising can adversely effect your skin. A beauty product barrier can prevent the healthy sweat you produce during exercise from exiting your skin, clogging your pores, and putting you at higher risk of skin break outs. 

Exercise boosts the production of collagen

Found in abundance in the extracellular matrix of the skin, collagen acts as a kind of protein skeleton, keeping the skin taut and maintaining its elasticity: the ability of the skin to ‘bounce back’. 

As we get older, the level of collagen in our skin naturally decreases, leading to wrinkles and natural sagging of the skin. We can’t stop the ageing process, but there are a few lifestyle habits we can adopt (or drop) to promote the production of collagen in our bodies, and reduce the effect of ageing on the appearance of our skin. 

Studies have shown that regular exercise boosts the level of collagen in our skin cells – and this is accomplished in two major ways. 

First, as a result of increased blood circulation, exercise boosts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, which is thought to stimulate the production of collagen.  

Second, exercise stimulates the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is vital to the collagen production process.

Exercise improves blood circulation

Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. As a result, a higher levels of oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your cells, keeping them healthy, and aiding in the generation of new cells. 

This has a brightening effect on your skin making your skin, making it appear healthier.  This is why – after a hard workout at the gym – you may have noticed a ‘post-gym glow’ as your skin benefits most noticeably from the effect immediately after a workout. 

Exercise reduces stress

Stress can also have a marked effect on the skin.

When you’re stressed, your body produces more cortisol, a hormone that stimulates the release of the corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) that boosts the volume of oil produced by the sebaceous glands. This can lead to clogged pores, blemishes and acne breakouts. 

Studies have shown that stress reduces the function of the barrier within the stratum corneum – the outermost layer of the skin – reducing its ability to retain water, causing your skin to become dry and itchy. Additionally, stress can affect the composition of proteins in skin cells, reducing the skin’s elasticity and resulting in the formation of premature wrinkles and sagging skin. 

Stress is awful for the health of our skin cells as well as the skin’s overall appearance.  

Exercise can help to reduce stress as it naturally reduces the concentration of stress-related hormones in our blood, while simultaneously promoting the production of endorphins, the body’s self-made stress-relievers and mood elevators. 

So, if you want to help your skin to become the healthiest it can be, consider adopting a regular exercise routine – or upping the number of weekly workouts you do – to benefit from the most natural method of airbrushing!