Exercise Image 1Exercise has multiple benefits for our physical health and well-being from strengthening the immune system, increasing endorphins and reducing stress. Exercise even has a positive effect on our skin too. Boosting metabolism and oxygenation to the tissues promotes healthy function and efficient regeneration and increases the antioxidant supply to safe-guard the skin and accelerated collagen production.

exercise affects physiology

Increased in metabolism

Exercise Image 2 Exercise 2 Cardiovascular exercise increases metabolism which may increase sebum production and hyperkeratosis and contribute to the formation of breakouts.

Increased circulation causes vasodilation

Getting hot during exercise increases blood supply to the skin. This can increase dehydration, sensitivity and vascularity. This could be a trigger for eczema and rosacea.


Sweating can cause dirt, debris and skin cells to stick to the skin, increasing the potential for clogged follicles and promoting breakouts. Sweating also increases dehydration.

Exposure factors

Different types of exercise take place in different environments. This could, for example, be outdoors in the sun or cold, in a chlorinated swimming pool or in the sea which is high in salt, or perhaps in an air-conditioned gym. These environmental factors will also have an effect on the skin condition, including photo-damage, sensitivity and dry skin.

Nutritional supplements and changes

Altered diet or nutritional supplements may be a link to skin changes. Whey protein increases the production of sebum, associated with the development of breakouts. Whey also increases the production of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1. Insulin increases the production of sebum. Steroids or performance enhancing drugs may increase androgen activity and drive breakouts.

Advice for healthy skin

Adjust clothing and makeup choices

  • Remove eye and face makeup before a workout. Opt for an oil-free, lightweight foundation.
  • Avoid synthetic, or tight restrictive clothing as rubbing promotes irritation and breakouts.
  • Launder gym towels regularly.
  • Avoid rubbing the skin, causing friction and further irritation.

Prioritise cleansing and rebalancing the skin

  • Rehydrate the body with fluids before, during and after exercise.
  • Shower within 30 minutes to avoid excess sweat, oils and bacteria building up. Double cleanse thoroughly. Rehydrate the skin after cleansing using a light-weight moisturiser.
  • Take a cool shower, using cool facial towels, drink cool water to help reduce the skin’s temperature and stop it from purging waste via sweat.

Protect in harsher environments

  • Apply a SPF30 minimum to the face and body when exercising outside.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun out of the face.
  • Apply a barrier protection to the skin if swimming in a chlorinated pool or exercising in harsh climates.

Modify the choice of exercise

  • If challenged with rosacea or other inflammatory skin conditions, try out low impact exercises like Yoga or Pilates.

Dermalogica favourites

Rebalancing cleansers

Excercise 4
  • Active Clay Cleanser
  • Clearing Skin Wash

Soothing re-hydrators

  • UltraCalming Mist
  • Calm Water Gel

Breakout fighting products

  • AGE Bright Spot Fader
  • AGE Bright Clearing Serum

Barrier and SPF protection

  • Barrier repair
  • Invisible Physical Defence SPF30

Light-weight cover

  • Skin Perfect Primer

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