Exercise, exercise, exercise is the battle cry! It is not news that exercise is a great boost for your body. Your beating heart is a muscle that gains great strength and stamina from cardio to help it continue to beat strong. Just look at how unexercised muscles get flabby — the same applies to your heart — your body engine. Exercise greatly improves your lungs, body strength, helps relieve stress and overall mental outlook.

Regular exercise provides more than just cardio and physical activity; it promotes a healthy circulatory system that helps to keep your largest organ — your skin — healthy and vibrant. All that good blood flow helps to nourish skin cells, and the blood carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and to your skin. Exercise does not detoxify the body — that is the work of the liver — however, it is actually the blood flow that carries toxins, wastes and free radicals away from the cells. So you can see that a good flushing through exercising can cleanse the skin from the inside. After a good workout, you can experience that “exercise glow.”

Now that we understand a little of the physiology of exercise, let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts on skin care while exercising.

You may not like this, but you really should wash makeup off your skin prior to exercising. Sweat and makeup do not make good companions. When you sweat, your pores are open, and makeup on the skin mixed with oil can be clogging and cause breakouts. Quick fix: makeup remover wipes.

If you exercise outside, you need to apply sunscreen after the cleanse. If you work out in a gym, be very mindful and use the disinfectant spray usually provided for you. I see folk religiously wipe down the seats but never touch the handles on equipment. Just think of touching and smooshing someone else’s sweat, cells and bacteria onto your skin — yuck! Always carry a clean towel to pat your face, and neck dry.

After your workout, always change out of sweaty clothing, wash your face and apply a pH normalizer, moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation if you use it. Research shows that most gym-goers don’t shower after a workout, so they are literally sitting in bacteria on their bodies — yuck again!

There are a few skin conditions that exercise can exacerbate. If you have rosacea, you may experience dilation of blood vessels and overheating, and that can cause a flare-up. Keep a cool towel within reach to cool yourself down. Eczema is a condition in which the skin lacks certain proteins that provide moisture to the affected area. The salt in sweat is an irritant and makes the rash very visible. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize immediately after showering. If you are acne prone, you most definitely want to cleanse you face prior and after working out. Sweat, dead cell, and sebum are a deadly combination for acneic skin. Back and chest acne can also be a problem. Those areas contain more pores and sebaceous glands, and sweating, irritation from clothing and friction create the perfect storm. Even though there can be skin problems associated with exercise, the benefits far, far outweigh any negatives. Keep on pushing.

Life is so Beautiful!

Marion Edwards is a Licensed Esthetician, Professional Makeup Artist and Certified Trainer for Motives Cosmetics. She can be contacted at 828.773.1500.

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