by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Want healthy skin that glows? Forget sunning techniques like tanning creams and salons. Avoid cancer and wrinkles from the sun’s harmful rays. Instead, radiate from a workout …
Walking the aisles of any store, you’ll find shelves of products dedicated to skin care. Shaving creams, shave-less creams, moisturizers, bronzing lotions, and more anti-aging serums than there are applicable years of life in which to try them. Recently, I even saw an enclosed case of skin treatments for retail at a Mexican restaurant.
Clearly, skin improvement is a hot commodity. Everyone– young or old, guy or gal– has a common wish: smooth, soft, blemish-free, and well-toned skin. A nice wrapping that covers the gift which is our entire being. As our largest organ, it’s a lot for which to care.
Exercise is proven to help keep you younger overall. In the past, we’ve highlighted members who managed to decrease their physical age despite what is indicated on their birth certificates. Following a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition and adequate physical activity is an indisputable way to feel young and vibrant. Theories also indicate this lifestyle can help you look younger as well, by nourishing your skin.
Many experts believe increased circulation obtained during exercise improves the skin’s appearance. A robust workout detoxifies the entire body and promotes cell renewal. Stress-relieving routines can reduce acne, which is proven to be linked with emotional health. Eliminating tension also helps minimize wrinkles by smoothing fine lines as the facial muscles release their own tension.
Some research suggests exercise may actually produce younger looking skin through an increase in the body’s production of collagen, a naturally occurring protein found abundantly in the skin. (Hence, all those pricey collagen-enriched skin treatments. Hey, someone’s buying them.) They also suggest toning muscles pulls the skin tighter for a smoother complexion. Although not yet proven, these thoughts seem to trend with other findings.
According to Audrey Kunin, dermatologist and author of The DERMAdoctor Skinstruction Manual, exercise increases delivery of nutrients to skin’s cells and provides optimum conditions for collagen production, thus keeping away wrinkles and those oft-discussed fine lines.
Bust a Move to Reduce Blemishes
Acne reduction seems the most significant benefit exercise has on the skin. Minimizing the production of stress hormones soothes the adrenal glands. Decreased output of these hormones reduces the incidents of breakouts and provides improvement for chronic acne sufferers. The sweating associated with vigorous workouts also clears the pores. Without clogs, the skin’s condition is less conducive for producing pimples.
Exercises to Clarify
Vasanthi Bhat, founder of Vasantha Yoga Health and Fitness in California, reiterates how stretching conditions and tones muscles. “Skin attached to those muscles becomes firm and beautiful,” he says. Vasanthi believes yoga-type stretches, combined with proper breathing, tone the entire body and have a face-lift effect. Additionally, yoga encourages relaxation. Facial muscles release tension that contributes to the appearance of anger lines and crow’s feet.
For a “face-lift by yoga,” Vasanthi recommends regularly practicing backward-bending poses (such as fish, camel, and cobra). Forward-bending poses (such as child pose, bowing pose, and modified headstand) replenish the blood supply to facial skin.
Vigorous aerobic exercise can help rid the body, including the skin, of environmental toxins. Your skin faces the stress of pollution, smoke, make-up, and grooming products on a daily basis. Cleanse your pores of these irritants, which dull skin and produce breakouts. The increased circulation benefited from cycling, kickboxing, or other aerobic workouts makes your body a toxin-burning machine.
Experts advise against exercises that specifically target facial muscles. This facial twitching and tensing cannot sculpt a visage the way one would a bicep or ab. Although you might elicit some smiles, which perk up any face, there are no long-term effects on tightening and squinting those sagging eyes. These beauty calisthenics might actually do harm by further creasing existing lines or introducing new ones.
Outdoor Workouts & UV Damage
For those who enjoy outdoor exercise– whether warm-weather sports, regular walks, or gardening– protect yourself. Research has proven a connection between sweating in the sun and skin cancer. Sweating may increase photosensitivity of the skin, which makes it more prone to sunburn and UV-associated damage. This type of exposure increases your risk of skin cancer.
If you must physically exert yourself outdoors, reduce UV exposure by doing so when the sun isn’t its strongest (before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.). Wear protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses, and apply water-resistant sunscreen. Note if the bottle indicates “sweat-resistant,” an added feature. Some clothing is constructed from fabric that blocks the sun’s harmful rays. Look for companies that manufacture sporting goods for the largest selection of sun-protective clothes and gear.
Tips for Skin that Works Out
Whether weightlifting or heading to a fitness class, make it work for your skin.
- Don’t wear make-up while exercising.
- Avoid wearing aftershave or other lotions during your fitness routine.
- Immediately after a workout, thoroughly cleanse skin to remove toxins from sweat and oils released while sweating.
- Stay hydrated with water. Although this doesn’t directly add moisture to your skin, it does prevent you from dehydrating internally. Your body can effectively remove waste and efficiently cool off through perspiration.
- Use purifying wipes to spot-cool and refresh. Make certain the wipes are safe for overall use. Some contain harsh alcohols that are rough on skin. (The wipes provided around the Center are for use on equipment, not skin.)
- Take advantage of the Center’s sauna for overall purification, including that of your skin’s pores.
- Follow your workout with a cool shower, conveniently available at the Center. You’ll feel fresh, look fresh, and reflect your great workout from the inside out. Before exiting, turn the water cooler to close pores.
A smile can be any face’s best asset. Use it often to light up your face, as well as an entire room. Each time you put your best foot forward in fitness, remember you’re facing the same way.
“Improve Your Skin with Exercise,” by Marissa Kristal at www.psychologytoday.com.
“Skin Care: 5 Tips for Healthy Skin,” at mayoclinic.com.
“Will Exercise Make My Skin Look Younger?” by Richard Weil at www.medicinenet.com.
Clear skin (introductory photo): www.flickr.com/photos/leesimage/2953189277/
Cobra pose: www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/3908352804/
Beach volleyball: www.flickr.com/photos/neo_ii/4916866338/