There is much more to healthy skin than what we do at the surface. Ironically, it goes a whole lot deeper than the skin. Just as much as I want to support you in creating the perfect lineup of products and services to treat the outside, I also want to help you build the knowledge and habits that create healthy skin from the inside!
One of the most impactful things we can do for our skin, something I personally make a top priority, is SWEATING EVERY DAY.
Now as healthy as sweating is, there are also ways that sweat can become irritating to the skin. So we’re going to break it down to understand why sweat is beneficial and how to keep it that way!
What’s Really Happening When We Sweat
Imagine you’re working out right now. You feel the fatigue in your muscles, maybe your breath is elevated. And what else? Do you notice your heart is beating stronger and faster? Working out is absolutely essential for our heart health, this part we already know! Maintaining an active lifestyle keeps the heart strong (a muscle that is constantly working) while also increasing circulation throughout the body. What’s important to understand in this conversations is that circulation is also increasing to the skin! As we age, it’s typical that circulation decreases, which leads to less support and nutrition for our skin. Cue fine lines, wrinkles, sag, and dullness. But by sweating daily, we keep our blood circulating and support the vasculature that keeps our skin youthful in the process.
Increased blood flow to the skin means more oxygen and nutrients are available to the skin. This nourishment allows the skin to produce more collagen, a further reason why sweating helps to prevent and reduce wrinkles!
It’s pretty much common knowledge that when we work out, we challenge our muscles, causing them to build up more strength. Consistently lifting weights will, over time, allow you to lift heavier! Running often will cause your times to become faster! What we’re seeing at the muscular level (increased strength and ability) is also true of the building blocks that make up our bodies...cells! Think about it this way. Just like our muscles are challenged by a workout and become even stronger, our cells are challenged and strengthened when we workout too. Without getting too science nerdy here, working out essentially improves the strength and capacity of our cells! And that is all cells, including the cells of our skin.
Working out and sweating often creates strong, healthy skin cells that lead to thicker and more structured skin!
The more we care for the inner health of our skin in this way, the more of a natural glow we’ll create, and the better results we’ll see from our products and treatments. But there is one amazing thing that does happen at the surface of the skin when we sweat.
Even if we take impeccable care of our skin, we are constantly being exposed to potential irritants in our environment. Just think of how germy a gym can become with many hands touching the same equipment, towels being thrown on the ground between sets, touching our faces to move hair or wipe sweat, you get the drift. Our sweat itself contains antimicrobial peptides that protect the skin from harmful germs and infection that we come into contact with. Sweating every day allows our body to create a natural barrier, keeping balance and health within, while protecting us from anything in the air that is not for our skin.
We can all get science nerdy about how cool that is, right?!
Sweating Perfectly? Yeah, It’s a Thing
Sweat is amazing and the process of working up a sweat can do amazing things for our skin, but it has to be done right. Here’s what you you need to know to get the perfect sweat:
For sweat to do its job, it needs to be able to move freely. If we sweat while our skin is dirty or clogged with heavy products and makeup, our skin will get worse instead of better. Clogging the surface with dirt or product traps sweat and throws off our skin’s natural balance of oil and water, and acne is not far behind. This might mean two slightly different things depending on the time of day you are working out:
- Morning sweat go-getters, give yourself a good cleanse pre-workout to clear oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that may have accumulated while sleeping.
- And evening get-it-done athletes, don’t workout with makeup on. I know it can be tempting to leave it on, but those pores need to breathe! Cleanse well to sweat well.
In both cases, make sure you are sweating with a fresh face! Cleanse is a simple, sudsy face wash to use pre-workout for a thorough but gentle clean. Active Cleanse is a great option to work in a little gentle exfoliation and deeper pore cleanout.
If the skin is clean pre-workout, it can take care of itself during the workout (remember that magic barrier being created by sweat to keep our skin protected?). But post-care is also extremely important. Even though sweat has antimicrobial properties (that are super beneficial and amazing), if it sits on the skin too long it can cause inflammation and irritation. Specifically the sodium in sweat can dry out and irritate skin. So in simplest terms, free the sweat to do its thing during your workout but be sure not to wait too long to clean the skin again after your workout.
Although we want a good clean post-workout, we want to do so gently and not scrub hard or use a potentially irritating products. After a workout, the skin needs to be balanced, not stripped of hydration and necessary oils. Cleanse is great to use post-workout as well, but another option popular among athletes (and my personal favorite for the past decade) is Defense. This cleanser is gentle yet powerful and will soothe the skin while also supporting the sweat’s antimicrobial function with pharmaceutical grade essential oils. (It’s perfect for acne prone skin too!). And for those times when you can’t wash your face right after working out, Defense also comes in wipes so you can support your skin on the go! Good skincare doesn’t have to be difficult!
- Keep your skin clean pre-workout.
- Gently wash skin post-workout.
- Have fun and enjoy those natural workout endorphins on your way to healthy, glowing skin!
Make today perfect, get your sweat on!