What happens to our skin when we exercise?

For many running or exercising fanatics, there is a huge focus on health and wellness. Taking care of the body will have many beneficial effects on the skin. Drinking lots of water and increased respiration during exertion improves oxygen supply to our cells and this can benefit the skin greatly!
There are however a few risks associated with the environment we exercise in. Increased exposure to the environment during running or prolonged exposure to gyms and damp exercise clothing can have detrimental effects on the skin. The good new is that we can prevent a lot of the frustrating issues related to the skin of people that love exercising.
In order to take care of your skin pre, during and post work out, it’s important to understand what actually happens to your skin on a physiological level when we exercise.
1. Increase in temperature and flushing
When you exercise your body’s core temperature increases and the increased blood flow to your skin (especially noticeable on the cheeks) is the body’s way of cooling you down. While this has no serious side effects, for certain skin conditions such as acne and rosacea sufferers, it may cause flare ups. In certain skins, this increase in temperature may also cause histamine release which may leave the skin with the appearance of hives.

2. Dilation of skin pores
Our pores dilate during exercise so that our bodies can release sweat to cool us down. Sweat consists mostly of water and increased sweat production will not cause acne or breakouts on the skin. The problem comes in when we use wristbands and towels to dry our faces, which then exposes our already open pores to excess bacteria. Cleaning the skin with a water-based cleanser after exercising helps to combat the spread of bacteria.

3. Creation of free radicals
A natural by product of exercising is the formation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals increase the rate at which we age and are caused by exercising, pollution and unprotected sun exposure among others. Luckily exercise also combats the harmful effects of free radicals. Using skincare products with antioxidants will combat any damage done in the skin because of free radicals.

If we are finding the time for exercise, chances are that we don’t have all the time in the world to spend on complicated skincare routines. There are a few things to consider when choosing your skincare products. Firstly, we need to keep the skin clean, as increased exposure to bacteria and pollution will put us at greater risk of developing breakouts. Micellar cleansers are great to use directly after exercising as it quickly cleans the skin on the go, without the need for water and balances the acid mantle to prevent sensitivity and dryness.

The second thing we need is added protection. Prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun and pollution, will significantly increase the rate at which we age. Using antioxidants in our skincare and a broad spectrum sunscreen is crucial. A sunscreen should be re applied every 2 hours if you are exercising outdoors, and therefore it’s worth it to look for powder or stick formulations that can be easily reapplied.

The benefits of exercise far out way the potential negative side effects on the skin. But with the right products that are effective, easy to use and simple to incorporate into your routine, you can maintain your strict exercise routine while preserving the health of your skin.

Skin skills recommends Optoderm green tea serum (for antioxidant protection) https://optoderm.com/shop/

Colore science brush on sunscreen http://www.nuangle.co.za/colorescience/

2 Replies to “What happens to our skin when we exercise?”

  1. With thanks! Valuable information!

    1. Wonderful shayla! keep us informed on the type of topics you would like to see covered?

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