by Makayla Allison, Licensed Esthetician,BSW
Skin is the largest organ of our bodies. According to Ohio State University Medical Center, the skin serves as a protective shield against heat, light, injury and infection. In addition to protection, the skin is very much alive and processes and reacts to our lifestyles in order to keep us healthy. One major component in our lifestyle that affects our skin is exercise.
We all know that it is important for the health of our bodies to exercise, but what does it do for our skin? According to Discovery Health, stress hormones (such as Androgen and Cortisol) can contribute to acne. The release of Cortisol, in particular, increases sebum production; in turn, this can increase acne! Regular exercise can actually decrease the amount of Cortisol our body produces, thus decreasing the likelihood of acne. Exercise also speeds up the body’s metabolism, helping flush out toxins we may have absorbed through our skin via pollution, the use of daily hygiene products such as deodorant and lotions, and dirt and grime we come in contact with throughout the day.
So, how come when we work out we seem to break out more? Well, there are several reasons! Exercise boosts the process of cell renewal in our skin, but in order to benefit from this and not expose our cells to an increase in dead skin and clogging, we must promptly wash those dead skin cells off with a gentle loofah or scrub after working out. This is especially important if you are working out outside and wearing sunscreen. Secondly, it is crucial to begin a workout with a clean body free of makeup and lotions. Sweating unclogs your pores, making it easier for debris on the surface of the skin to cause problems. So, wash your face and body prior to working out, not just afterward to remove the excess salt and dead skin on the surface of the skin which unfortunately can do the same thing. Finally, be sure to use clean headbands, face guards, armbands, etc., to prevent the chance of an increase in acne mechanica due to friction or heat from those devices.
In summary, enjoy a clean, healthy body from the inside all the way out by considering some of these key steps to keep your skin acne free!