Skin and exercises: Common problems

From chafing to back acne, exercise might do wonders for our health, but the effect it can have on our skin isn’t always so positive.

Thankfully, the majority of these problems are easily treatable, with new research suggesting that exercise not only keeps skin younger, but it may even reverse existing signs of skin aging.

So forget about those wrinkles and dry flaky skin on face, hands and feet – with these simple tips and solutions you’ll be enjoying a workout that even your skin will thank you for.

How to Solve… Chafing

Whether it is your thighs, breasts, or underarms, any long-distance runner or fitness addict will be familiar with the painful irritation of friction burn. Because anywhere friction occurs, chafing does, and while different bodies chafe in different spots, the best defense is always protection.

Also Read: Can Exercising Damage Your Teeth

Restrict movement with fitted and well-ventilated clothing, investing in compression gear or body lubricants for added protection.

How to Solve… Dry Flaky Skin on Face, Hands & Feet

Sweat drains skin of its natural lubricants and if you’re exercising in a gym or other air-conditioned environment, it’s not uncommon to suffer from tightness and dry flaky skin on face, hands and feet.

By keeping your feet dry and regularly changing your socks, fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can be avoided (although easily treatable with an over-the-counter antifungal cream).

To prevent facial dehydration, always remove make-up before exercising and wear a light moisturizer to create a barrier from both the cold air and the salt in your perspiration.

Hot showers and harsh soaps can strip away your skin’s protective surface oils, so turn down the temperature and choose a mild cleanser and non-comedogenic moisturizer to leave your skin feeling hydrated and refreshed.

How to Solve… Sagging Skin

A condition often known as ‘runner’s face’, sagging skin may be an inevitable part of aging but strenuous cardio and long-distance running can further weaken the elasticity of collagen and elastin (the skin’s supportive fibers).

The solution? Stick to shorter runs and moderate exercise, exercising at 40–60% of your maximum heart rate, for no longer than 90 minutes at a time.

Wearing sunscreen and staying well-hydrated can also help, as well as a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables to strengthen skin cells and promote cell turnover.

How to Solve… Adult Acne

Stress, a poor diet, and too much exercise can all cause skincare problems – but dry flaky skin on face and hands isn’t the only problem. In fact, back acne is one of the most common complaints amongst those who exercise regularly. Why? Sweat creates a warm, moist environment for bacteria to settle, the extra friction of your workout encouraging excess oil and clogged pores.

In extreme cases, prescribed medication is the only way to ditch the zits, but for the majority of people simply cleansing the face and body immediately after exercise, preferably with a soap containing natural antimicrobial properties that slow yeast growth, can help treat the problem.

Recommended: Everyday Habits That Can Cause Acne Breakouts

Always choose loose, breathable and natural fabrics, giving your skin room to breathe and preventing tiny hairs from irritation.


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