One of the challenges I encountered in my weight loss journey is acne. As I shed the pounds, I saw an increase in my normal “pimple count”. Having noticed this, I did a little research on what could possibly cause this and how I could nip it in the bud before it gets worse.
Exercise is good for your health - there’s no arguing that. It is defined as any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories. Apart from it being the leading and most natural way to lose weight, exercise has been proven to have a number of significant advantages.
1. Happiness! Happiness! Happiness!
Exercise improves your mood and decreases depression, anxiety, and stress. It increases the production of endorphins or happy hormones. It also heightens brain sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression. Moreover, exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms in people who suffer from anxiety. It helps them be more aware of their mental state and distracts them from their fears.
What’s good about exercise is, it doesn’t matter how intense or exhausted you are. Your mood will instantly lighten up no matter the effort you exert. Just get moving!
2. Power! Power! Power!
Complaining that exercise will just tire you out? On the contrary, it does not! When I started working out, I usually did it before heading to work. My initial apprehension before I started exercising was that I might not be able to function at work properly. To my surprise, that was not the case at all. Instead, I had more energy to carry out my tasks and socialize with my colleagues. In fact, it’s been shown that exercise can significantly improve energy levels even for people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS.
3. Health! Health! Health!
The absence of regular physical activity is a primary cause of chronic disease. Obesity causes a lot of diseases which can cause death. Exercising is your weapon to make sure this does not happen to you. Daily exercise is a key essential to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
4. Memory! Memory! Memory!
Exercise improves brain function and protect memory an thinking skills. It increases your heart rate, which promotes healthy flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. Furthermore, it triggers hormone production that enhances growth of brain cells. According to studies, exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus, a part of the brain crucial for memory and learning, to grow in size, which increases mental function in older adults.
5. Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!
Regular exercise has made me relax and sleep better. Before I started working out, sleep would normally be elusive no matter how exhausted I am from work. But because of the energy depletion occurring while exercising, it amps up the recuperative process during sleep which will thoroughly revive you in time for the next morning’s workout.
These reasons are just a few of the many, many reasons exercise should be a part of your daily routine.
But what happens when your skin takes a beating while your body is rejoicing?
A couple of weeks after I started working out daily, I noticed that my skin has been acting up. Worried and puzzled, I decided to read into what might be causing this unusual breakout. Here’s what I found out:
While it’s true that there are plenty of ways exercise benefits our skin, it may not always be the best for it - because, obviously, it can cause breakouts. What we have to know is exercise also amplifies circulation and sweating, which helps the body rid itself of toxins and release impurities through the pores - both result in making skin clearer and brighter. Sounds pretty great, right? Nope, it does not end there.
Before you hope to avoid exercise with the excuse that it cause clogged pores, I’m gonna stop you right there! Science says it is not the sweat. A small study conducted in 2005 attempted to find out. They divided 23 men into 3 groups:
- Group one did no exercise at all.
- Group two exercised, breaking out in a sweat, in a 100% cotton T-shirt, and showered four hours after exercising.
- Group three exercised, breaking out in a sweat, in a 100% cotton T-shirt, and showered within one hour of exercising.
The 2 groups that exercised did so 5 days a week in a span of two weeks. After each period, researchers examined any breakouts that developed. It appeared that though the men developed clogged pores, it did not have anything to do with exercise, time of sweating during exercise, or the time interval between exercising and taking a shower. Those who exercised developed no more breakouts than those who didn’t. The study concluded that exercise had no pertinence on breakouts.
So, if it isn’t the exercise, why does our skin suffer?
A common cause I came across my research was our clothing. Tight or restrictive clothing can irritate the skin and spread bacteria into pores. Basically, anything that rubs is a bad idea. Looser and comfortable clothes can solve the problem. Polyester and other man-made fabrics can trap oils and bacteria, increasing the risk of a breakout.
Another cause I saw was dirty gym equipment - from yoga mats to the machines. You have to bear in mind that other people have used these and these things can harbor bacteria and dirt. Anything on these things can end up on the face.
Heat can also be a factor. Heat rash or milliaria can happen to some people when they work out (Been there, not fun). Milliaria is small, itchy hives that develop when the body temperature rises and sweat glands are obstructed. Prevent them by keeping your body temperature down and making sure you exercise in a well-ventilated environment.
What Do We Do Now?
Ditch the makeup!
You’re not heading to a party, there’s no need for makeup. If you feel bare, cleanse your skin beforehand and apply a noncomedogenic moisturizer. Makeup is the number one culprit for clogging your pores. If mixed with sweat, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
No Matter What Happens, Hands Away from Face!
Your hands touch gym equipment, the floor, and other surfaces, which most likely have bacteria and dirt. Need I say more?
Shower, By Hook or By Crook!
I know the study mentioned earlier said that it didn’t matter when participants washed off sweat. However, for the sake of hygiene (and the people around you), I still strongly recommend showering because you will most definitely collect bacteria on your skin.
Tie Your Hair!
Hair rubs against skin while working out, increasing the risk of breakouts. Forehead pimples? If you have bangs, that’s the problem. Use a ponytail or headband to keep your hair away from your face. Go easy on the hair products. Do not touch your hair while working out to prevent transferring bacteria and pore-clogging products from your strands to your skin.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Coco-Loco!
Another recommendation I received was to supplement with coconut oil to help my skin recover and protect itself. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, and moisturizing. The fatty acids found in coconut oil, caprylic and lauric, reduce inflammation internally and externally, making it a great solution for all types of skin conditions. Its high antioxidant content makes it perfect to heal the skin. Its antimicrobial properties counteract the fungal sources that causes many skin conditions.
Personally, the idea of rubbing coconut oil on my skin isn’t something that I like. It’s a personal preference. That’s why I chose taking coconut oil supplements. This saves me from that sticky feeling and time. What I like about taking coconut oil in the softgel form is that I can do it anytime, anywhere, without having to exert extra effort, while receiving the same benefits.
After taking coconut oil supplement, I started to notice that my skin feels more supple. My acne started drying up as well and I no longer get huge, painful zits. It just goes to show how powerful the antimicrobial properties of the coconut oil is.
So, if you are also experiencing post-workout acne, follow these simple ways that personally worked for me and be on your way to a healthy body and beautiful skin!