It’s hardly news that exercise is excellent for your heart, lungs, and mental outlook. Here’s another reason to get moving: Regular exercise is one of the keys to healthy skin.
“We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, which are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
If you have dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis, you may need to take special care to protect your skin while exercising. But don’t let skin problems prevent you from being active. Here’s why.
By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin,” says Marmur. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin. The job of neutralizing toxins belongs mainly to the liver. “But by increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system,” Marmur tells WebMD. “You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.”
Exercise has also been shown to ease stress. “And by decreasing stress, some conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show some improvement,” says Brian B. Adams, MD, associate professor and director of the Sports Dermatology Clinic at the University of Cincinnati. Conditions that can improve when stress is reduced include acne and eczema. Although researchers are still investigating the link between stress and skin, studies show that the sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones.
Regular exercise helps tone muscles, of course. That doesn’t have a direct effect on the skin, dermatologists say. But firmer muscles help you look better overall.
Our skin gets healthier after each session of exercise. This is because during exercise, our heart rate goes up; blood vessels expand (to pump more blood to the areas around our body) & the distribution of oxygen & essential nutrients to the skin is improved.
Another effect is that toxins accumulated in deeper layers of our skin are expelled through sweating during exercise.
Do not wear makeup during training (the mix of sweat & makeup will clog your pores.) It is essential to rinse off after a workout for EVERYONE, but if you have sensitive skin, eczema, or acne, MAKE SURE to take a shower after the gym (exercise can cause chafing & rashes.)
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