Holistic Beauty: Can Exercise Truly Benefit Your Skin?
We love our ten-step skincare routine but perhaps it's time to level it up with some physical activity. By this, we mean: a workout routine. Time and time again, doctors and nutritionists have heralded the benefits of exercise: for our heart, our muscles, and even our mental health. But did you know that exercise also has wonderful effects that benefit the skin?
Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It guards us against "extreme temperatures, damaging sunlight, and harmful chemicals". Knowing this, it makes sense for us to take care of it. Here's how working out more can help us do so.
One of the biggest benefits of working out is the way it helps improve blood circulation. This allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach the skin, keeping it healthy, and helping it with collagen production and with the creation of new skin cells. Toxins are also removed much quicker during a workout when we're sweating it all out. This is often why some people may feel they have a "post-gym glow" after a really good workout.
An indirect way exercise can improve skin is by helping to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol works by increasing blood sugar glycation; through this, sugar binds to proteins (such as collagen) and damages it. This is what causes the skin to age and why stress can often make us look and feel older than we really are. Exercise combats this by releasing endorphins and helping to manage stress. Exercise can also aid in sleep by promoting deeper, more restful slumber that can also help in stress management.
Of course, it's important to know that exercise isn't all win-win for our skin. Some people prefer outdoor exercise—but this could lead to UV damage. The best solution is to use waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. When choosing one specifically for the face, go for something that's also oil-free so that it won't clog pores. Avoid wearing makeup when heading to the gym too and always remember to shower afterwards. While sweat itself is nothing to worry about on your skin, it could attract potential bacteria that could clog pores and cause acne. Ultimately, exercise can be a great way to support skin health, but it's always important to remember to do so hygienically in order to safeguard your health and maximise its potential benefits.