Your Skin on Exercise

How does a workout session affect your skin?

How does a workout session affect your skin?

Exercise does the body good, but how does working out specifically affect the skin? There are lots of positive theories about this topic; like, blood and oxygen flow from aerobics helps the skin stay younger and more firm or that the skin is detoxed from a sweat session. There are also some negative theories that claim gravity from high impact exercises like running and jumping can cause the skin to sag, or claims that aerobic sessions cause stress and inflammation that ages us. These are just a couple of many theories and speculations about how exercising affects the skin. While there is no concrete science showing that working out is the key to staying wrinkle-free and glowing, there are also not a lot of proven facts that exercising causes extreme damage to our skin. Here are some basic truths we know about how our skin health relates to working out.

Truth: Exercise does help decrease cellulite.


Cellulite is that unwanted dimply or chunky looking skin that appears on the arms, legs, stomach, or sometimes other body parts. This is a skin condition that only some people have and the cause is not 100% known. What happens is fat deposits slip through the skin’s connective tissue and cause the deep dimples in the skin. There are some practices that can be done to prevent cellulite from happening and also help smooth the cellulite you may already have. Exercising regularly can reduce excess body fat and strengthen muscles underneath skin tissue. This means there is less of a chance of cellulite. Reducing total body fat and strengthening muscles under the areas of cellulite can help smooth areas that are already affected.

scrub me secret: treating your problem areas with exfoliation like dry brushing or using a body scrub can help further reduce the appearance of cellulite. daily exfoliation along with regular exercise is the best recipe for firming and smoothing areas with cellulite.

Truth: Aerobic and high intensity activities can make certain skin types sensitive.

When our face flushes or turns pink during a run or aerobic activity that is our blood vessels dilating to help cool down our skin. While this is not damaging for resilient and non-sensitive skin types, it can cause damage to those with rosacea or more sensitive skin. Rosacea can flare up or show visible broken capillaries on the surface of the skin. Sensitive skin types can also show visible broken capillaries or flush with redness and inflammation that lasts for hours. Using a gym towel to wipe away sweat during your workout can also irritate some skin types. Harsh material of the towels can rupture active breakouts or sensitize skin leaving it red or itchy after exercise.

Having a cool, refreshing toner or a cool towel to pat your skin with during & after a workout can help flushing like this.

Having a cool, refreshing toner or a cool towel to pat your skin with during & after a workout can help flushing like this.

scrub me secret: putting a spritz bottle of rose water or hydrating toner in the freezer a half hour or more before your aerobic activity could really help calm sensitive skin. bring along the cool mist and spritz your skin when you start to feel the heat.

Truth: Sweat clogs pores.

There are two ways sweat can affect the skin. Some may experience small red, itchy bumps or a rash. This is due to yeast from sweat reacting with the skin; the yeast grows in warm, damp places. Another way sweat affects the skin is by clogging the pores and causing congestion. Oil and debris that are already in the pores mix with sweat that is being produced and cause the inflammation and bacteria. This creates black or white heads. Working out with makeup, facial oil, heavy moisturizer, or unclean skin can cause these breakouts. We recommend swiping skin with an astringent toner on a cotton pad before a sweaty workout and once after.

Sweat may affect skin if proper measures aren’t taken.

Sweat may affect skin if proper measures aren’t taken.

Truth: Exercise creates blood and oxygen flow in the skin & body.


Movement and increasing your heart rate also increases blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. This helps all functions of the body work better, including the skin and its cells and proteins. Collagen and elastin can thrive from oxygen supply and healthy circulation. These are the proteins that keep skin firm and youthful.

scrub me secret: massaging and manipulating skin tissue until some light flushing is seen is also a great way to create oxygen flow and circulation. this can strengthen skin also help preserve collagen and elastin. natural anti-aging!

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Some quick tips we can take away from this are: it’s best not to do a sweaty workout with makeup, moisturizer, or facial oil on your skin. If you have rosacea or a skin type that commonly gets broken capillaries, a high intensity exercise may not be the best option. Pilates, yoga, or weight training are better options than running or biking. Strengthening muscles and reducing excess fat can help decrease cellulite. Lastly, regular exercise creates blood and oxygen flow in the body and that allows the body to function better.