7 Steps to Great Skin – Step 2: The Importance of Fresh Air and Exercise

Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in Beauty | 7 comments

Exercise to get great skin

Why do we exercise?

For most of us, it’s because we want to feel good, and we want to look good. What’s not so obvious, though, is that exercise is as important to the condition of our skin as it is to the condition of our bodies. When comparing the skin of athletes to that of non-exercisers, researchers found the athletes’ skin to be denser, thicker, more elastic, and stronger.

Increased blood flow

When you exercise, your cardiovascular system rushes freshly oxygenated blood to the surface to feed your muscles. The same high oxygen content also plumps up your skin making it larger and thicker. The increased blood flow to the skin delivers nutrients, and carries away toxins.

Increased body temperature

In addition, the internally-generated heat during exercise helps boost collagen production, which in turn improves your skin’s elasticity, and wards off lines and wrinkles. Meanwhile, sweat that tends to accompany exercise aids in the removal of cellular waste, leading to a clearer complexion.

Increased cell turnover

Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, is a key factor in healthy skin cell turnover. Good cell turnover replaces old cells with healthy new ones, resulting in a clearer, smoother, more even-toned skin

Increased blood capillary density

Exercise also increases blood capillary density in the skin, thereby improving the nutrition of the skin.

Increased sebum production

Another important advantage of regular exercise is the extra production of sebum. Sebum is a natural oil produced on the skin by the sebaceous glands, which works as a natural emollient maintaining skin’s softness and protecting against creasing and wrinkles.. The proper amount of sebum is essential to maintain healthy skin.

Increased growth hormone production

Vigorous exercise is a natural way to boost your pituitary’s output of HGH (Human Growth Hormone). Increased levels of HGH have been seen to increase the strength and collagen content of the skin, and are linked to noticeable improvement in skin texture, skin thickness, and skin elasticity, as well as decreased wrinkles.

Increased oxygenation

Oxygen is needed for the survival of your cells; if your skin does not receive enough oxygen, it will appear dull and aged, and be vulnerable to attack by ‘free radicals’.

The skin’s oxygen supply is derived both internally and externally. Internally, blood carries oxygen that is released from blood’s hemoglobin. Regular exercise enhances the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Externally, oxygen is absorbed through cellular respiration (yes, your skin ‘breathes’). Getting outside for a walk, ideally somewhere away from car exhaust, allows your skin to breathe in some fresh air.

Continue reading Step 3: You Are What You Eat


  1. When you exercise your heart rate rises and blood flow increases. This increases oxygen supply and nutrients to the skin. According to dermatologist Ellen Marmu M.D, a dermatology professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, it also transports waste products, free radicals and debris away from your skin. This can make the skin look and feel healthier.

  2. Regular exercise helps tone muscles, of course. That doesn’t have a direct affect on skin, dermatologists say. But firmer muscles definitely help you look better overall.

  3. • A vigorous but controlled exercise session can enhance blood circulation and better distribute the nutrients we ingest from our daily diet, including getting our skin the nutrients it needs. • Sweat unclogs the pores as it leaves the body, cleaning out dirt buildup. Oil and germs in the pores have less of a chance to cause inflammation and acne with this constant flushing out. • Regular exercise helps increase the blood flow to the face and takes away waste such as free radicals from the working cells in the skin. By bringing fresh oxygen-rich blood to the skin and activating sweat glands, the toxins get flushed out of the body and a natural glow exudes. Also, exercising releases ‘endorphins’ which bring feelings of positivity, happiness and overall well-being. Endorphins counter the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and in effect, skin stays healthier. • On the holistic side, exercise will build strength and improve the functioning of your immune system to help fight germs that cause acne. It will also help to easily metabolize spicy, hot or oily foods we occasionally consume, so that they do not harm the skin’s natural balance.

  4. There is evidence to show that smokers suffer from more lines and wrinkles than non smokers. ‘This is because carbon monoxide contained in cigarettes is known to cut off peripheral circulation – the small blood capillaries that feed the skin,’ says naturopath Laurence Kirk. Smoking also stops the body’s absorption of vitamin C – an essential ingredient for the growth of new collagen.

  5. Cardiovascular activity is the key to essential blood circulation and strengthening the blood vessels this helps with collagen production and other processes reliant on a constant oxygen supply. Another important advantage of regular exercise is the extra production of sebum, which works as a natural emollient maintaining skin softness and protecting against creasing and wrinkles.

  6. It may not be news that regular exercise keeps you fit and healthy – physically as well as psychologically. But, to surprise you, exercise is an important step towards healthy skin. Many of us generally focus on the cardiovascular advantages of exercise. But, anything working towards good circulation makes your skin look and feel healthy. The increased blood flow through exercise is helpful in nourishing the cells and maintaining their vitality. Blood is the primary carrier of oxygen to the cells. Besides supplying oxygen, blood flow is also performs the function of doing away with waste products, like free radicals, from the cells. This indicates that your skin is undergoing internal cleansing process while exercising.

  7. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry waste products, including free radicals, away from working cells. Exercise has also been shown to ease stress, which can ease the severity of acne and eczema breakouts. Finally, exercise adds a healthy glow to the complexion.

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