Exercise is vital to healthy circulation of oxygen in the body - a key to skin health. It increases the body’s circulation, metabolism, cellular oxidation and removal of toxins. Working out helps to deliver proteins, growth factors, vitamins & minerals to the cells (along with white blood cells). Not to mention antibodies and antitoxins to fight infection and disease.
Exercise can also help us relax and unwind from the day, as it produces endorphins and improves sleep patterns - bye bye stress. This is really important, as stress has a huge impact on skin, and in some cases can also help to improve acne and eczema.
According to a recent study, exercise keeps skin younger, it may also even reverse skin ageing in people who start exercising late in life. Regardless of your age, it has a positive effect on the thickness and elasticity of our skin. Growing evidence suggests it may also be responsible for evening skin tone, flushing toxins, and calming puffiness. So who’s ready to book in that workout tomorrow morning?
What happens if you don’t exercise is that you will probably start to have tired and/or dull skin (sorry, not sorry). In fact, the metabolism, as well as skin regeneration, will be slower. All skin functions will be sluggish as the oxygen supply is reduced. The skin will look pallid and have a lack of vitality. Therefore, get moving! If that’s not possible oxygen infuse treatments are amazing to boost circulation and cell metabolism. Some people are reluctant to exercise, as they think that sweat can cause acne and breakouts. On the contrary, a powerful cardio workout may do the opposite as exercise reduces inflammation and can level out cortisol hormones.
However, too much of any good thing can be bad! Excess exercise can actually be detrimental to your skin! In fact, it can put the metabolism in a heightened state, that can cause the formation of free radicals! Free radicals circulating in the blood flow will cause oxidative stress on the body, tissues, and organs. The skin will suffer the greatest damage since the body’s defense resources will go to the vital organs first. Therefore, premature aging can actually occur from too much exercise - this is why the key is moderation.
More than free radicals (ugh, they are everywhere), continuous high impact training and/or too much exercise can have the reverse effects and promote sagging of the skin. The constant and repetitive impact during running can break down the elasticity and connective tissue in the skin. Yes, you can age faster from exercising too much (take this as your hall pass for that Saturday workout).
It really depends on each individual, but too much exercising for those with sensitive skin can aggravate certain conditions. Rosacea sufferers, for example, can cause the skin to flush and create flare-ups. Same thing for eczema and psoriasis sufferers that can have some reactions due to the salt from perspiration.
In that case, it is better, of course, to exercise in a cool environment, to not overheat your skin and to use a light moisturizer before working out, as it will provide protection from sweat. It can be tricky to find the correct balance for these conditions, but it has been proven that exercising can improve overall health and prevent future flare-ups.
For more skincare wisdom like this, check out our podcast The Skinterview. Each week, we interview a skincare expert on the topics that really matter, demystifying complex concepts, busting beauty myths and sharing honest reviews.