How Can Fitness Impact Your Skincare Regime? As a pursuit that improves our mental wellbeing, helps us maintain a healthy weight, and boosts circulation, fitness is an important part of looking and feeling young. When we take part in a cardiovascular workout, blood carries oxygen and nutrients to our skin cells and helps eliminate toxins and free radicals, which are responsible for the apparition of wrinkles and loss of firmness. Oxygen is also vital for the production of collagen – the building block of skin. Everything from thread lifts to laser treatments are currently used to boost collagen and to give skin a thicker, younger appearance; yet exercise is another vital way to achieve optimal results. Exercises lowers levels of stress hormone, cortisol, which is linked to everything from acne to eczema, or psoriasis. Because we sweat considerably both in cardio and strength workouts, however, there are specific issues to watch out for when it comes to skincare, to ensure our skin is as smooth and structurally healthy, both in warmer and cooler months. Strenuous Exercise and Free Radical Damage Free radicals, which are molecules containing oxygen atoms that attack cells in our bodies, are produced when we exercise. These molecules are linked to everything from heart disease to cancer and premature ageing, yet the good news is that the average athlete has enough antioxidant enzymes to battle free radicals. According to some dermatologists, extremely intense exercise can have detrimental effects on skin, if one works at near their maximum heart rate for extended periods of time. In general, however, regular, frequent exercise will boost rather than harm the beauty of skin, whenever you consume a diet that is rich in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Acne and Blackheads Many people who do intensive sports find they can develop acne on the body, especially the back and chest area. It is vital to shower immediately after a workout, since sitting in one’s wet workout clothes can clog pores. Removing wet clothes immediately will also help you keep chafing at bay. If acne persists, see a dermatologist, who can recommend a good product containing a retinoid, which will promote healthy skin turnover. Blackheads can be a problem for those wearing helmets or headbands (such as mountain bikers or tennis players). The good news is that they can easily be removed with a special blackhead extractor, which enables you to have clear pores in an instant. Always cleanse skin before and use a toner right after extraction, to shut pores. The Effects of the Sun on Skin Prolonged exposure to the sun can result in free radical damage from UV rays, which damage collagen, thus producing lines and wrinkles. As noted by best-selling author and beauty guru, Leslie Kenton, it is important to wear a physical block rather than a chemical one, since the chemicals in skincare products can react to UV rays, and add a heavier toxic burden to skin. Dry Skin and Eczema Sweating can increase itchiness for those battling eczema. In addition to applying any treatment prescribed by your doctor, it is vital to keep skin intensely hydrated after your workout. Opt for deeply nourishing yet gentle organic products, which are free of harsh chemicals that can exacerbate your symptoms. Although exercise in general boosts skin’s strength and elasticity, sweat produced during moments of intense activity can provoke itching, acne, and other issues. By showering quickly, adopting a regular skincare routine and ensuring your face and body have all the moisture they need, your skin will enjoy all the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle. About the Author: Sally Phillips is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.