Skin Care for Exercisers
Exercisers are prone to numerous skin
problems caused by increased moisture or friction or damaging elements like
cold, sunlight, and infection. Many skin afflictions, however, can be prevented
by keeping the skin dry,
start with the gym. The key word for skin at any time is
hydration, but when it comes to
aerobic exercise in a
hot, stuffy environment such as a gym, drinking an adequate supply of water is
not so much a matter of comfort as a matter of urgency. Without vigorous
exercise, you normally lose about 2 liters(4 1/4 pints) of water a day, only
some of it through perspiration. Adding a good sweaty session at the gym will
significantly increase the volume lost.
when you are dehydrated, the blood flow to your skin is reduced, and over time
this can result in a kind of grey pallor. In the long term, you will also find
that the diminishing number of nutrients reaching the skin affects its daily
renewal process, meaning skin can
become dry and flaky, and washing several times a day will only exacerbate this.
Hardly surprising, the best way to combat
effects not only for your skin but also for your general fitness performance-is
to drink more water. Drink 500ml (1 pint) of water around two hours before
exercise, then 250ml (1/2 pint) when you arrive at the gym-and around every
fifteen minutes during your workout. If the thought of this makes you queasy
during exercise, chances are you're already dehydrated. Gym skin also needs
extra care on the outside. Exfoliate with a gentle body scrub at least two or three times a week and
apply body lotion after showering.
indoors also brings its own perils. Chlorinated pools leave skin dry, dry,
dry-and also leave that lingering 'detergent' smell, so it's vital to wash
straight after a dip. Use a highly lathering shower gel (the lather
doesn't make you cleaner, but the extra time it takes to wash off means your
body's getting drenched with extra water) and apply it twice, rinsing in
between, in the same way that you would a shampoo on your hair. Again, body
lotion afterwards is a must, but keep chemical fragrances to a minimum- they can
add to skin dryness.
With all those indoor perils, it may seem as if a
jog outside in the fresh air would be
the perfect way to improve your body and skin together. Oxygen certainly does
wonders for radiance-boosting,
but there are still some factors to be aware of. If you're jogging in the city,
for example, your skin is exposed to pollution, and wherever you're exercising
there's always the
question of those wrinkle-inducing UV rays. Fine, you might
think, I'll just wear an SPF lotion while I run. The problem is that not all
skin creams are alike. An SPF is good (factor 15-30 depending on the sun
strength and time of day), but make sure you don't use a wax-based formulation.
The pores on the face are tiny, and these thick, heavy sun protection creams can
be comedogenic (pore-clogging), especially when
mixed with perspiration. It's also important to wash your face properly after
outdoor exercise. Perspiration mingles with sebum and forms a substance that
attracts dirt, and if you don't wash it away, it will literally sit there all
day. Hats and clothing made of tightly woven fabric provide fairly good
protection against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Caps protect the scalp
and, to some degree, the face. Broad-brimmed hats afford additional coverage
of the ears.
No matter how much water you drink, perspiration is a normal part of
exercise-even on the face. keep your facial temperature low by drinking plenty
of water, and try a facial mist, too. Also, if you've drunk more than a
glass or two of alcohol in the evening, don't exercise the following morning you
will sweat much more than you would normally.
Another pore-clogging peril is make-up, but there's one simple make-up rule when
it comes to exercising: don't wear any. Not only will it run as you start to
perspire (and mascara halfway down your cheeks is not a good look) but the rise
in temperature will help it work its way further down into your pores, making it
even harder to clean off afterwards. If you can't bear to face the world without
even as smattering of colour, look for mineral-based make-ups that are non-comedogenic
and won't run, and a water- or gel-based
foundation. And as in most
situations in life, a little bit of lipstick won't do any harm!
The skin covers the machinery that allows active people to enjoy improved
health, so it's important to protect it. Preventive skin maintenance can help
ensure years of comfortable exercise sessions.