How can I have great skin when I exercise?
We all know that great skin depends on good lifestyle choices including optimal nutrition, moderate exercise and the correct skin care regimen. However, as much as exercise is recommended for a healthy mind and body, some forms of exercise can contribute to skin damage and inflammation and work against that sought-after healthy glow. So, what is the best way to care for your skin for those who enjoy a regular workout?
Are you over exercising?
Dermatologists have recently speculated that excessive exercise can be damaging to the skin due to the free radicals created by body cells placed under extreme physical stress. According to 2008 research published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, high intensity exercise (close to maximum heart rate) for extended periods, has a negative impact on the skin. This is a valid theory and just like everything, moderation is the key. The prematurely aged skin of a marathon runner results from the combined effects of internal free radical damage generated by exercise stress, and solar and environmental pollution assaults.
SOLUTION: The ideal cosmeceutical ingredients to combat this damage are antioxidants. Vitamin C (L ascorbic acid) – found in Synergie Skin Pure-C crystals – to enhance tissue growth and repairs, and Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) – found in Synergie Skin Vitamin B – to increase the immunity of the skin and strengthen the skin barrier from environmental damage.
The impact on your skin
In addition to free radical damage from excessive exercise, there is a lesser known side effect of high impact exercise such as running and even regular tennis. Renowned plastic surgeon and antiaging author Dr. Gerald Imber states, “Any high-impact exercise, like running, causes a jolt to the skin”. Just like breast tissue that is unsupported during high intensity workouts, pounding the pavement can stress facial ligaments and damage the collagen and elastin in the skin. This leads to laxity and sagging. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is one of the downsides of regular running sessions.
Is your skin overheating?
For most of us, exercise enhances blood flow through our body. This provides positive nutrients for our skin, whilst also removing cell waste and toxins more efficiently. However, for those with skin pigmentation concerns such as melasma, you must be careful not to over-exercise. Overheating the body can excite the melanocytes – the cells that produce pigment. Those suffering from rosacea also need to keep the temperature down as the blood vessels dilate to lose heat and may contribute to increased facial redness.
SOLUTION: Low-impact exercise and swimming are the best choices here.
What’s causing you post-gym breakouts?
Fun fact; sweat is sterile!
It’s not your sweat that’s causing breakouts, it’s the moist environment and surface impurities on the skin that’s creating an environment for bacteria to thrive in. Another common breakout associated with exercise is the blemishes seen on your chest and back. This is called ‘acne mechanica’, and is caused by the friction between your wet workout gear and your skin, resulting in the inflammation and clogged pores.
During your workout, it’s important not to touch your face – gyms are a source of bacteria and other microbes that lurk on the machine handles, weights and locker doors. Be sure to pull your hair off your face to prevent excess touching of your face, and also because many hair products contain comedogenic (pore clogging) oils and waxes which contribute to breakouts.
The ideal face products for your work out
For those who prefer outdoor workouts, your number one skincare product is sunscreen. Try to exercise before 10am and after 4pm to avoid the damaging UV and Infrared (IR) radiation. The best ingredients to adequately protect from both UVA, UVB and IR radiation are Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide, found in: ÜberZinc facial moisturiser, ÜberZinc Body and in the Synergie Minerals foundation range if you prefer to glam it up during your exercise!
It is ideal to go to the gym with a freshly cleansed face. However, many of us girls prefer to wear makeup daily. In this case, choose a high-quality makeup free of any questionable ingredients (such as Synergie Minerals). Of course, I use Synergie Minerals as my workout makeup. My go-to workout makeup is Second Skin Crush – it’s water resistant even after an intense hour-long spin class!
After my workout I use UltraCleanse to wash away the makeup, sweat and impurities that build up during intense exercise. Cleansing Dust is also a great cleanser option for the gym, as it’s lightweight for travel and the gently exfoliating rice bran feels great after a workout.
Overall, the benefits of exercise for optimal skin health far outweigh the negative effects. Just as our skin requires the ideal products for best results, so does our health and exercise routine. To achieve best skin results, ensure you are tailoring your exercise routine to your skin type. Regular low to medium intensity exercise, coupled with whole nutrients and antioxidant rich skincare, is the ideal way to maintain your healthy glow.
Not sure what products are suitable for your skin type? Head to our Analyse Your Skin quiz to find your routine – your skin confidence begins here.