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What Exercise Really Does To Your Skin

We can all rattle off reasons as to why a sweat sesh is good for your body: It benefits your cardiovascular health, improves mental clarity and so much more. But did you know that exercise is also good for the skin? Yep. That post-workout “glow” isn’t just sweat. Exercise does give you better skin, even during those heart-pumping workouts that turn you a shade of beet red. We talked to 4 dermatologists to break down the effect of exercise on skin.

Exercise improves circulation and oxygenation

The recipe for healthy, glowing skin calls for more than just sunscreen and moisturizer. You’ll also need cardio, which gets the heart rate revved up. 

“Exercising helps deliver essential nutrients to the skin,  helping it to stay healthy,” explains Dr. Anna H. Chacon, a board-certified dermatologist who serves on the advisory board for Smart Style Today. “It increases blood flow, oxygenation to our organ systems and facilitates lymphatic flow.”

Any exercise will do — running, biking, swimming or dancing — but Dr. Marina Peredo, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, says that certain yoga moves, like headstands, are good for the skin because it increases the blood flow to the face. It “also gives the skin a boost of oxygen and nutrients.” 

it promotes the production of collagen

As exercise flushes away things the body doesn’t need, like toxins and free radicals, it’s making room for the good stuff: collagen, the body’s most abundant protein.

It takes the skin from dull to radiant through the process of renewing skin cells, says Dr. Chacon.

If you’re looking for a collagen supplement that ups your collagen intake while supporting your workouts, reach for our Vital Performance™line. This 3-phase system combines collagen with premium ingredients to help you conquer every movement.

effect exercise on skin

sweating is good for the skin

“Not only does sweating cool us down, sweat also contains some proteins which help our bodies to fight bacteria that live on the skin's surface,” says Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, a dual board-certified dermatologist.

Just be sure to wash your face directly after working out, says Dr. Peredo, adding: “Sweat can clog pores and lead to breakouts so washing your face right after or using a gentle face wipe to hold you over before getting home will lessen the probability of acne.”

it impacts other healthy lifestyle habits

The benefits of exercise are more than just skin-deep. You’re bound to see positive changes in other areas of your life. 

Dr. Kemunto Mokaya, a board-certified dermatologist, explains that high cortisol levels from particularly taxing situations contribute to aging by increasing blood sugar levels. “Increased blood sugar levels lead to a process called ‘glycation,’ in which sugar binds to proteins, such as collagen and damages those proteins.”

it keeps the body in optimal shape

Since the skin is the body’s largest organ, you’ll want to keep it in tip-top shape through a combination of healthy eating (peek the best foods to eat for your skin) and exercise. “Exercise helps control blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate,” shares Dr. Chacon. 

Vital note: When you do work out, avoid tight-fitting workout gear, which can lead to breakouts, particularly on the chest and back.

exercise effect on skin

it gives you endorphins

Elle Woods from Legally Blonde said it best: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t." Okay. Minus that last part, the rest applies!

“Exercise releases endorphins which make us feel good about ourselves,” reiterates Dr. Chacon. “When we look better, we feel better, thus making ourselves feel better on the inside about what’s on the outside.”

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