We all know it: sport and exercise have generally positive effects on our health. It’s no wonder that doctors and health experts recommend regular, moderate exercise. It helps prevent the most common lifestyle diseases (diabetes, high blood pressure etc.). Couch potatoes are at much higher risk!
And exercise can help with acne too. In this article you’ll find out the positive effects that exercise can have on blemished skin and what you need to think about when exercising.
Why sport and exercise have positive effects
1. Exercise improves circulation
People who exercise regularly strengthen their whole body and improve skin circulation. Because thanks to the heart pumping harder, even the smallest capillaries (tiny blood vessels in the skin) are supplied with more blood. This gives the skin a rosier, fresher colour, while the body’s immune system is built up. A handy side effect: inflammations, which are common in blemished skin prone to acne, heal more quickly and occur less frequently.
2. Exercise provides more oxygen
Those who exercise catch more breath over time, literally. Because the amount of air breathed in by the body increases. With time it can even double! That’s why it is of course best to do exercise in fresh air that is as clean as possible.
Breathing in more air means that your body receives more oxygen. The number of blood cells increases, the heart works more effectively and organs are better supplied with blood. Blood pressure improves, as does the vitality of blood vessels and tissue. And this effect is of course good for your skin too.
3. Exercise reduces stress
The latest studies indicate that stress and acne influence one another (you can learn more about this here). So the psychological aspect of acne is not to be underestimated, as negative stress can make the skin more susceptible to inflammation and therefore pimples.
Exercise, on the other hand, reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body naturally. You can relax more easily – and that’s good for your skin too.
4. Exercise “cleans” the body
Exercise makes you sweat by its very nature. But this is a good thing, as sweat has a positive effect: your pores open up and excess sebum and dirt are removed naturally.
Do you take medication for your acne and want to do exercise? Your doctor will advise you on what you need to be aware of.
Before, during and after exercise: our tips for you
It’s better to exercise without make-up on
When you exercise your pores open up, which is why it’s best to avoid blocking the skin’s natural breathing ability with thick make-up. When the sweat mixes with make-up this can clog pores.
If you would rather not do exercise without make-up on, it’s best to use a light, moisturising, liquid foundation.
Use hair care products sparingly
Leave-in-conditioner and other products containing oils can run onto your face when you sweat, and clog pores. This can especially cause pimples on your forehead.
Don’t forget your sun protection
If you enjoy doing exercise outdoors, that’s great – especially when you’re well-protected from the sun. The best type of product to use is a light, mattifying sun protector. Overly rich sun creams aren’t good as they can cause blemishes.
The sun protection factor should of course match your skin type. If you’re not sure, it’s better to choose a higher SPF, or seek advice from your chemist or dermatologist.
More on sun protection with acne.
Clean gym equipment before use
The equipment at the gym harbours all sorts of bacteria. Once you’ve touched it, it’s on your hands, and then quickly on your face too.
Don’t rely on others cleaning equipment properly after they’ve used it – it’s better to do it yourself! Paper towels and an appropriate cleaning fluid should be available in every gym.
Shower after exercising!
It may be obvious, but with acne, showering after exercise is particularly important. Because when you sweat, the skin’s pores open up and dirt and excess sebum are expelled from the body. But if you let the sweat dry on your skin, the different substances solidify again on your skin and re-clog pores – ideal conditions for the propionibacteria that cause skin inflammation.
So that’s why you should shower as soon as possible after exercise and wash skin, especially affected (facial) skin, with a suitable dermatological product, such as ProACNE Solution Cleansing Gel.
When you sweat while exercising you can wipe away the sweat with a clean towel – especially on the affected areas.
Can you use the sauna if you have acne?
Generally it’s no problem to go in the sauna if you have acne – in fact quite the opposite. It stimulates your circulation and strengthens your immune system. As well as a towel to lie on you should also have another towel with you to wipe away sweat – a small hand towel will do.
Is there an “athlete’s acne”?
There is something called “steroid acne”, which can be one effect of taking performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids.
In general, taking such substances is not recommended, as they have considerable side effects. Excessive bodybuilding is also not recommended, as the higher levels of the male sex hormone testosterone that result can cause or worsen acne. Moderate fitness training or endurance sports are much better.
I’m really not a sporty person – what should I do?
The most important thing is to pick a type of sport or exercise that you really have fun doing! Especially recommended for blemished skin prone to acne are endurance sports such as running, skating, swimming or cycling – and of course general exercise in the fresh air.
If you don’t enjoy these sports, you can get similar effects from sports such as football, volleyball or tennis. Working out at the gym is also a good alternative.
Tips for anyone who finds it hard motivate themselves to exercise
- Start with short training sessions and then slowly build up. That way you stay motivated and avoid failures.
- Don’t exercise alone: do it in a pair or a group. This makes it more fun and you can motivate one another.
- Don’t lose sight of your goal: exercise gives you a healthy body and clear skin!