Many of you already know that exercise improves your heart health, joint health, and reduces the risk of several diseases. But did you know that working out also affects your skin and can help you look younger?
This post will explain both the short-term and long-term effects of training in terms of skin health and anti-aging. You’ll also learn why working out too hard can have a destructive effect on your skin and facial appearance.
Since I am not just a nutritionist and skin nerd, but also a trainer, this topic is truly a favorite of mine.
This is what my post will cover:
- Exercise and skin health in general
- Can exercise make you look younger?
- What happens if you work out too much?
Exercise and skin health
Exercising in any form gives you better circulation, and that includes the blood flow to your skin. With this improved circulation, you get more oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells, which in turn help them with rejuvenation. As a result, your skin will be healthier and more vibrant.
The increased circulation also includes the lymph flow. Which will decrease unwanted puffiness, and increase the skin glow even more.
Another benefit of exercising is that it will lower the number of stress hormones in your body And as you may know, stress is a huge culprit to many skin problems. Such as premature aging, acne, and eczema.
By lowering stress hormones, especially cortisol, you also get better sleep. Which in turn has a huge impact on your skin! As you can read in this post, beauty sleep promotes good collagen production, as well as the production of hyaluronic acid (for fuller skin). It also reduces inflammation and helps with total rejuvenation. In other words, it makes you look better and younger
Can exercise make you look younger?
In addition to the basic knowledge about exercise and skin health, is there any scientific evidence that exercise makes you look younger?
As mentioned above, exercise will improve your skin in many ways. And better skin health will of course lead to a younger complexion. But in addition to the obvious hypotheses, some studies have also examined this topic more precisely.
For example, one study examined the skin of sedentary people in the age of 65 and above, before and after they were put on a workout routine twice a week. After three months their non-sun exposed skin (in other words the skin with normal signs of aging) resembled the skin of someone at least 20 years younger.
Another study has shown how exercising helps to keep our DNA young. The explanation seems to be that moderate exercise protects the telomers. Which in turn helps our skin cells to remain younger. This protection seems to be constantly renewed upon exercise.
According to another study, long-term exercise also gave a modest reduction in glycation. And glycation is, in simple terms when sugar molecules deform proteins, such as collagen. Which in turn causes wrinkles and stiff skin.
Mitochondrial metabolism is another aspect of skin aging (and aging in general). Which simply can be explained as your cellular energy. And this study shows that endurance exercise reduces age-associated changes to the skin by improving the metabolism of mitochondria.
So there are definitely reasons to believe that working out will improve your skin and give you a younger complexion. But there is even more to add.
With stronger muscles and joints, you get a better posture and body confidence as a bonus. Which in turn gives you a much younger version of your appearance.
Tip: Also see my post about microcurrent. A technology that trains your facial muscles for tighter skin and a more plumped face. It also improves mitochondrial metabolism and prevents facial bone loss.
What happens if you work out too much
After talking about all the benefits of exercise, let’s also mention why too much of it can be detrimental to your skin and face.
Just as with most things in life, excessive exercising can cause too much stress on your body. And that is never a good thing.
Stress hormones can when there is more than you can handle, break down collagen and elastin, trigger acne, and cause a number of skin problems. So make sure to get your rest in between, and listen to your body.
Also, if you are dieting, remember that dieting too much can make you lose fat in your face. Which will make you look older. My post about foods that help tighten loose skin will explain more about what you need to eat to preserve your skin. And why you cannot eat too little if you want good skin.
Another thing to remember is that if you do like to exercise outdoors, you must must must use effective sunscreen to prevent more wrinkles. You’ll need sunscreen even on cloudy days, and this post explains why.
So, in short, does working out make your face look better? These are the most important takeaways regarding exercise and skin health:
- Exercising seems to impact your skin in many positive ways. It increases circulation and transport of nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells. Making them perform better.
- Exercising also lowers stress hormones in your body, which helps you sleep better and fight skin inflammation. With better sleep, you’ll also get a higher production of collagen and hyaluronic acid that will help you preserve your skin.
- Studies have been made that show that exercising has even more impacts on the skin and even helps preserve our DNA. It also seems to improve mitochondrial metabolism give our skin cells more energy.
- There is, as with many other things, a limit of exercise that is healthy for your skin. If you train too hard and often without proper food and recovery, your skin will suffer. You can for example experience more acne (due to an overload of stress) and/or fat loss in your face. Which in turn will make you look a lot older. Make sure to eat healthy food and never starve yourself.
- Also, remember to wear sunscreen if you exercise outdoors. Since UV-rays will lead to premature aging.
Hope you found this post interesting and inspiring!
Exercise is an essential part of a healthy life and something I wish every human being could do on a regular basis. It improves all our organs, including the skin, and simply gives us a longer and happier life.
Hope you find motivation by reading this post and let me know if you have any questions. I read and answer all comments in the comment section below.
Until next time, love your skin!
This Post Has 33 Comments
So encouraging to read because it gave me another motivation to keep getting my exercise in. I’ve seen how working out has relieved stress for me and loved how my skin felt over time.
Thank you for your comment! So glad to hear that! 🙂
This is a well written post that will help many ladies who are no longer in their 20s.I`m in my late 40S but anyone I meet do think I’m around 35, but this is because of the love and care I take of myself and my face.We only get one face unlike dresses that we can change if we don`t like the look of it.
Thank you Roamy! And true words! Glad to hear you are taking care of yourself and your skin!
You’re so right, too much of a good thing can also be bad for you. Didn’t know that overworking would lead to bad skin. That However personally because love a long workout haha.. However liked the tips on how to balance things up too.
Thank you Zethu! And I love a long workout too 🙂 And as long as you love it you are probably not overdoing it. It’s rather when you constantly overdoing it and feel stressed in your body. And/or when you eat too little in combination. Listen to your body and remember recovery, and you are perfectly fine. And will get all the positive effects 🙂
This is a great post regarding exercise and your skin. I really agree that exercise is helping with your stress hormones and affecting you in a good way from the inside out and it will be evident in many ways including your skin. Thank you for sharing this post.
Thank you for your comment Natalie! 🙂 Glad to hear you liked it!
It’s amazing the benefits of working out. I currently workout and I love the energy I get from working out.
So glad to hear that! 🙂
You look stunning! I love exercising and it does make me feel great inside and outside.
Thank you so much Elle! 🙂 And glad to hear you like it as much as I do!
What a great article to read and it just makes so much sense how exercise helps our skin. Being 62 I am finding how important exercise is for so many reasons, but if all this cardio is also helping my skin I may start hitting the gym and extra day.
Thank you Jere! Happy to help with inspiration 🙂
love to exercise as well, agree with you in using sunscreen, I just bought another tube of it.
Awesome to hear Jean! 🙂
I strongly believe that the feelgood sensation you get after working out must make you look as good as you feel, giving you that healthy glow!
Yes so true! 🙂
Hello, thanks for this article, as I am approaching 40 I am seeing some lines appear around my eyes. I am very interested in how to preserve my skin for a long as possible and got some valuable tips from this article.
Glad to hear that Marita! You are very welcome 🙂
I had no idea that there was a connection between physical exercise and telomeres. I always thought that athletes look older than their actual age, but that must be due to the intense and extensive training programs they follow. Or just me:) Usain Bolt looks ageless!:)
Yes, many athletes can do harm to their health and skin by not eating enough or by skipping recovery. Important to listen to your own body 🙂
Excellent article! I love how all your claims are backed up by solid scientific evidence. I can see just from personal experience that my skin looks indeed better -more supple, less tired -when I exercise, either cardio or even a pretty fast paced strength circuit. I wonder what the science considers too much exercise? I would imagine more than once daily.
Thank you so much Joanna! Glad to hear you have such great experience yourself :). Too much exercise varies a lot between individuals. But yes, more than once per day for several days is probably too much for most people. Make sure to listen to your body and eat healthy and enough. Also, if the workout regimen is starting to make you sleep less instead of getting more quality sleep, then that is a strong signal that you’re probably overdoing it.