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Exercise and its Benefits to Healthy Skin

We all know the benefits of regular exercise.  Exercise promotes healthy organs and muscles, increases bone strength, and even boosts our mood through the release of endorphins. The skin is our largest organ, and just like all our other organs, our skin also benefits from exercise.  Exercise is likewise known to reduce cortisol levels in the body, which can in turn lower our stress. 


“We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin.  Increased blood flow helps flush out cellular debris from the skin and the rest of the body.  Increased circulation also helps improve the skin’s appearance and restores a healthy glow. 


When you encourage your patients to exercise, it’s also important to teach them how to protect their skin while doing it.  Here are some tips to share with your patients about protecting their skin during exercise: 


Helping Patients Protect their Skin During Exercise

+ Wear sunscreen when exercising out of doors. If possible, avoid exercising outdoors during peak sun times, from 10am – 4pm.

+ Remove all makeup and lotion before exercising. Makeup can cause clogged pores, breakouts, and irritated skin.  

+ Drink plenty of water during exercise, as this will help flush the body of toxins.  

+ Wash your hands before and after exercise.  Our hands and fingernails are often the dirtiest parts of our bodies, so keep them away from your face while working out.

+ Avoid headbands or tight fitting synthetic clothing during exercise, as increased friction and moisture can irritate sensitive skin.

+ Gently wash skin or take a warm shower after working out.  This will wash away any salty residue left on the skin caused by perspiration.


Patients with conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, or acne may see flare ups after a heavy workout. This is not a reason to skip exercise.  Gentle swimming is an excellent alternative activity for patients who suffer from certain conditions such as exercise-induced uticaria. Working out in a cool environment, or applying cool compresses to the skin during workouts can also help prevent flare-ups.

Read More: Psychology Today, Web MD, Everyday Health

[image by Kevin Dooley]

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