Is exercising good for skin?

Running at the fitness club
Working out helps to boost your blood flow, which can improve the way your skin looks.

Tight abs. Shapely thighs. A beach-ready silhouette. Most people know that exercise is the key to a killer body, but that's the not the only reason to exercise. Hitting the gym can also put a glow on your cheeks that's the sign of healthy skin.

Exercising causes an increase in the body's blood circulation, which improves skin's appearance and texture. Being physically active also provides skin -- the body's largest organ -- with the ideal conditions for producing collagen, the fiber that maintains skin's young, taut appearance [source: Bouchez].


Exercise can also help clear up some skin problems that pop up from time to time. Acne patients might find relief through regular workouts, since perspiration can unclog pores. Exercise can also calm outbreaks by preventing the release of stress-related hormones that contribute to break-outs [source: Bouchez]. Those who have psoriasis, which is often triggered during stressful periods, might also benefit from daily workouts. Even after working out, though, it's always important to remove makeup beforehand, and wash off sweat or dirt afterward, to prevent clogging pores.

Although exercise can be good for your complexion, don't try putting your face through its own workout. Many health experts say exercises that claim to tone the facial muscles are probably a waste of time and won't help with wrinkles or under-eye bags [source: St. John]. Wrinkles don't result from lack of muscle tone, but from sun damage over the years. Instead, try general exercise to get an overall healthy look and to increase oxygen and blood flow to your skin.

Before you plan your workout regimen, be aware that people with pre-existing skin conditions might need to take some precautions when exercising. A study by the National Rosacea Society found that more than half of people with the condition experienced a flare-up after heavy exercise [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. To avoid such consequences, try working out when it is cool, taking breaks as needed to avoid overheating and doing water-related exercise, such as aqua aerobics.

To learn more about how exercise can give you a healthy glow, visit the links on the next page.


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Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • American Academy of Dermatologists. "Keeping Fit While Minimizing Flare-Ups." Feb. 20, 2009. (Accessed 8/11/09)
  • American Academy of Dermatologists. "Minimizing Flare-Ups." April 17, 2008. (Accessed 8/11/09)
  • Bouchez, Colette. "Exercise Your Body -- and Your Skin." May 6, 2005. (Accessed 8/11/09)
  • St. John Health System. "Does Exercise Deliver for Skin Care?" (Accessed 8/11/09),235
  • Weil, Richard. "Will Exercise Make My Skin Look Younger?" MedicineNet. April 18, 2008. (Accessed 8/11/09)