Does Exercise Help Acne? What to Know Before Beginning an Exercise Regimen

While you probably already know that exercise is good for the mind and the body, you may wonder, “Does exercise help acne? How can a workout improve my complexion?” In truth, exercise can be beneficial for every part of the body, including the skin, and it can even positively affect acne breakouts. Whether you suffer from moderate acne or monthly acne breakouts that are brought on by a change in hormone levels, adding exercise to your daily routine may help you fight acne more effectively than a barrage of creams, gels, and medicated facial washes.

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How Does Exercise Help Acne?

If you suffer from acne, you may have avoided exercise because you assumed that sweat and confining clothing would only contribute to the problem. You may wonder, “How does exercise help acne when all it does is make me sweat and add to the oils on my skin?” In truth, exercise doesn’t add oils to the skin, and in order to understand how exercise can help heal acne, you must first understand how pores and glands in your skin operate and how their functions differ.

There are two different types of glands in your skin: sebaceous glands and sweat glands. While both are designed to release fluids onto the surface of the skin, sebaceous glands release only natural oils to keep the skin from drying out. When you sweat during exercise, the sweat glands release fluid in order to keep the body temperature regulated. The sebaceous glands do not release extra oils at this time because the sweat glands are already hard at work. Therefore, exercise does not make your skin oilier and sweat may actually play a role in cleaning out clogged pores, which is the main cause of acne.

Exercise, Clogged Pores, and Acne

Whether you’ve opted for a vigorous spin class, aerobics, or some other type of exercise, they all result in sweating. Sweat leaves the body through pores, just as natural oils do. However, sweat can also help clean out the pores as it leaves the body and loosen dead skin cells, cosmetic residue, and excess oil that clog them. The cleaner your pores are, the less the fewer blackheads and whiteheads that form, which will make your pores appear smaller as well.

Some people think that sweat increases the amount of bacteria and germs on your face, but sweat does not contain any kind of bacteria; in fact, some studies have shown that sweat can kill bacteria under the right conditions. Sweating will not increase acne breakouts if the sweat is promptly washed off after exercise. Also, if you find that if you break a good sweat your skin feels irritated, splash some cool water on it before blotting it dry.

Acne and Stress

While clogged pores and bacteria are the main causes of acne, stress is also a major contributor to breakouts. If you suffer from acne that’s aggravated by stress, you may wonder, “How does exercise help acne? Aren’t workouts stressful?” While it may be challenging to get into your exercise routine at first, the more you exercise, the more you will enjoy it. Studies show that the body releases endorphins during exercise that will make you feel happy and energized, which washes away stress and fights acne-causing hormones that are released during periods of psychological stress.

While exercise is not a sure fire cure for acne, it improves blood flow and helps the skin shed dead and dying skin cells that can clog pores and cause acne. So, “does exercise help acne?” – most experts agree that it does, but you should consult a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen to ensure that your heart and body are healthy.


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