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This is one of the most searched terms on the internet. There are thousands of articles, research papers and blog posts on skin health; ways to improve your skin health, best foods and vitamins for skin health, steps and habits for skin health and so on. There are also a thousand skin care products to choose from (I often have great difficulty in this department). But did you know that regular physical activity or exercise can help improve your skin health?

Your skin can benefit from the many effects of regular exercise.

  • Regular exercise can be seen as having capabilities of mitigating physiological changes in and outside the body and the reducing co-morbidities associated with ageing.
  • It has a positive anti-ageing impact even at the cellular level by maintaining genomic stability, increasing protective proteins and DNA repair pathway proteins and also downregulating or reducing negative proteins and repair pathway proteins too.
  • Anything that promotes or improves a healthy blood circulation also keeps your skin healthy and vibrant. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keeps them vital. It also carries away waste products (including free radicals) from working cells.
  • Regular and continuous physical or aerobic exercise is associated with antioxidant activity, DNA repair mechanisms and protection from DNA damage thus favouring the REDOX balance.

“REDOX balance; a balance between oxidation and reduction systems in cells, tissues, etc”

Now we have seen the benefits, there are key things that must be done to prevent these benefits from being dampened.

During physical activity or exercise, the skin is exposed to harsh conditions ranging from friction-induced rashes, chaffing caused by contact with sporting equipment or tight-fitting clothes rubbing against each other (especially in the thigh area) to sunburns in hot dry seasons.

For some, developing exercise-induced dermatoses such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and so on poses a hindrance to exercise participation.

To prevent these from dampening the benefits of having a healthy skin using physical activity or exercise, adequate personal hygiene after exercise must be taken seriously as it is important in maintaining a healthy and vibrant looking skin.

  • Be sure to always shower after a workout session and apply soothing PH balanced skin moisturizer.
  • Use talcum or alum powder to help dry the skin and prevent skin irritation. Use petroleum jelly, patches or adhesive tape over friction prone areas.
  • Wear hypo allergic sunscreen and or a hat during hot dry season. Wear breathable exercise clothing.
  • Do not wear make-up during exercise to avoid clogging the skin.
  • Wear socks in areas where it is required to walk barefooted.

Mega-tip: Find what works best for you and your skin to have a stress free workout session and always stay hydrated.

Sources

  • Ron Clijsen, Andre O Barel, Peter Clarys (2014)Use of cosmetic in sports. Chapter 50, Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, 4th Edition.
  • Rebelo-Marques A, Lages A.D, Andrade R, Riberio C.F, Mota-Pinto A, Carrihio F and Espregueira-Mendes J (2018). Ageing Hallmarks; The Benefits of Physical Exercise. Frontiers in Endocrinology.