Fitness & Skin: How Working Out Helps Your Skin Look & Feel Better

Regular exercise is essential for long-term health and wellness. From head to toe, staying active benefits your body and brain – turns out, it’s even good for your skin.

Here’s what you need to know about how working out supports skin health along with some simple tips to help you keep your skin healthy while staying fit.

The Top 4 Benefits of Exercise for Your Skin

The health benefits of regular exercise are difficult to ignore. It helps control your body weight, combats chronic health conditions, boosts your mood, and elevates energy levels. But how does it affect your skin? In some cases, exercise can exacerbate skin issues. Tight workout clothes can cause chafing or rashes and intense exercise may worsen rosacea. That being said, exercise is generally good for the skin.

Here are 4 ways regular exercise can benefit your skin:

1. It improves circulation to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells.

Your heart is constantly beating to pump blood throughout your body, delivering it to your muscles and organs. When you exercise, your heart rate increases which boost blood flow. If you exercise regularly, you can improve your cardiovascular health which means improved circulation even when you’re not actively exercising. Improved blood flow means more oxygen and essential nutrients are being delivered to your cells (including your skin cells) which improves vitality and encourages cellular repair.

2. It boosts blood flow to help flush toxins from the body.

Another benefit of having more efficient circulation is improved detoxification. As your heart pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body, it also helps transport toxins and other waste materials where they need to go for removal from the body. This means your cells are getting more of what they need while getting rid of potentially damaging substances more quickly.

3. It helps relieve stress and regulate hormone levels.

Exercise gives you a rush of endorphins, those “feel good” hormones that boost your mood. Endorphins also give your skin a boost. The skin contains endorphin receptors and while scientists may not fully understand the effect of endorphins on the skin, research shows that they do provide benefits. Exercise has been shown to reduce the effects of stress and lower production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Regular exercise also improves sleep which can be beneficial for your skin.

4. It may reverse and prevent the visible signs of aging.

Your skin cells need energy, just like any other cell in your body. ATP is the specific energy cells need to function – in skin cells, it supports collagen production and helps repair skin damage. As you age, the mitochondria in your cells start to produce less ATP but exercise has been shown to mitigate that effect. Studies have also shown that moderate aerobic exercise over the course of just three months can not only improve the health of skin but boost its appearance as well. In one study, individuals over the age of 65 exercised for 3 months and were found to have skin that resembled that of a 20-to-40-year-old.

5. Tips for Keeping Your Skin Healthy While Working Out

Staying fit is great for your skin, but all that sweat has its downsides. Working out in a gym means sharing equipment (and germs) with who knows how many other people, and if you touch your face, you could be spreading those germs to your skin. Aside from that, if you let your dried sweat sit on your skin for too long it could irritate skin and also clog your pores and contribute to breakouts.

Here are a few simple tips to keep your skin healthy while working out:

  • Remove your makeup before you work out. When you exercise, your body starts to heat up and that opens your pores. If you’re wearing makeup, it could settle back into your pores and put you at risk for breakouts.
  • Wash your face afterward. Even if you start your workout with a clean face, it’s a good idea to cleanse afterward. This removes all the accumulated sweat and bacteria – it also helps your skin cool down.
  • Freshen up with toner pads. Keep a supply of toner pads in your gym bag to make your post-workout washup quick and easy. Be sure to wipe down you’re your neck and chest as well as your face.
  • Bring your own gym towel. While many gyms provide towels for patron use, you can’t be sure how they’re cleaned. Choose a medium-thick towel and make sure to wash it with fragrance-free detergent to avoid a reaction.
  • Pull your hair back. Keeping your hair pulled back away from your face helps prevent the transference of oil and hair product which could clog your pores.
  • Wear sunscreen when appropriate. While it’s a good idea to keep your skin clean for a workout, if you’re exercising outdoors, you shouldn’t skip the sunblock. Apply at least SPF 30 before you head outside and reapply at least every 2 hours.

One of the best things you can do for your skin before, during, and after you workout is stay hydrated. Hydrating before you exercise improves blood flow and drinking water during a workout helps support healthy muscle function. Whether you’re working out or not, staying hydrated is essential to keep your skin smooth, supple, and wrinkle-free.