How can exercise benefit my skin?

Exercise benefits your skin in several ways. You know the glow your skin takes on after a brisk walk outside or a tough aerobics class? Generally, that's related to perspiration, which is one way your body gets rid of toxins. But exercise does much more than flush impurities out of your skin. It also promotes production of sebum, or oil, your skin's natural moisturizer, and enhances blood flow to the skin. That's important because blood carries oxygen and valuable nutrients that help maintain skin health.

Plus, regular physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight and keep insulin resistance at bay. Exercise is also an important way to manage stress. If you're exercising outdoors, though, remember to protect your face and body from UVA and UVB rays by wearing a moisturizer with sunscreen protection. You don't want to "undo" all the good of that workout.
Dr. Doris Day, MD
A study of middle-aged athletes done by Finnish researchers showed that the athletes had noticeably fewer wrinkles than did a sedentary control group. The athletes’ skin was also not as thin as the skin of the people in the control group, and it tended to be far more resilient. The researchers believe that the reason for the positive effects of exercise on aging skin is that cells in the layer where new skin is formed speed up their activity. In other words, when you get moving, your skin cells do the same!

I have yet to find a reliable and valid study which explains the true benefit exercise has on the skin. We know that exercise increases blood flow and that as the body attempts to cool itself by forcing blood to the skin. Because of this increased blood flow, more nutrients can be delivered, and more toxins can be removed from skin cells. If the collagen and elastin fibers are nourished properly they should be more resilient to wrinkles. Additionally, exercise can influence hormone production, which has been linked to acne production and skin health.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.