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Here’s how working out can impact your skin

Regular exercise can do you the world of good, but it turns out your skin goes through changes too. Read on to discover if they're for better or for worse

As a society we are well aware of all the benefits of exercise, lower blood pressure, improved heart health, brain health, mental health, sleep quality, and more. But what doesn’t tend to feature on lists that extol the benefits of exercise is how it impacts the outward appearance of our skin. So, if getting fit was your New Year’s resolution here are a few more reasons you shouldn’t give up…

Protects your skin from free radical damage

Whether you can see that your skin has turned red or not a good workout will get your heart pumping faster than at rest. This increases blood flow, in fact our blood vessels widen to deliver more oxygen and nutrients than usual and remove waste like carbon dioxide and free radicals. Not only does the skin benefit from more oxygen and nutrients but giving the bodies waste elimination a boost means the skin is protected from free radical damage caused by environmental aggressors (sun, pollution etc) even more.

Boosts collagen production

Collagen provides structure, strength and support to the skin, and without it sagging, lines and wrinkles ensue. Cue the thousands of skincare products, supplements and aesthetic treatments that are designed to boost collagen stores and halt the degradation of the stuff too. Exercising can help too as studies have shown that exercise can boost collagen production. High intensity interval training (HIIT)and resistance workouts seem to work best as these workouts stimulate the human growth hormone which rev up collagen.

Promotes cell growth

HIIT and endurance training have been shown to have a youth-boosting effect not just on the body as a whole but the skin. By increasing telomerase activity, the enzyme that protects our DNA our skin enjoys better cell growth and replication. This isn’t quite a Benjamin Button effect but it certainly slows down ageing.


Like with most things it’s how you do it that matters most, so when it comes to exercise it’s important to employ some ‘safe’ lifestyle practises to ensure you’re getting all the skin benefits and none of the harm.

For example, to dodge premature wrinkles and hyperpigmentation if you workout outside, you should try to avoid the hottest hours of the day (11am-3pm) keep skin covered, wear a hat and sunscreen too.

But one thing you’ll not be able to dodge is sweat. Produced by the eccrine gland, sweat helps regulate body temperature by secreting water all over the skin to keep you cool. For all the good it does, sweat can also cause trouble if you don’t cleanse your face and body post workout. When you don’t sweat can mix with the oil in your pores, clog them up and acne and rashes can ensue.

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