Here’s something your dermatologist probably won’t tell you: You can eliminate acne, boost your glow, and increase your natural collagen production without buying a single product, and it all comes down to sweating.
I don’t blame you for raising an eyebrow — it seems crazy, right? After all, women have always been taught that working out can exacerbate acne or conditions like rosacea by creating a buildup of bacteria on the skin. But that’s not the whole story.
Sweating is actually the body’s built-in detoxification method. When you sweat, you release excess fluids along with a small amount of toxins (this Canadian study showed that humans actually sweat out BPA, a chemical component found in plastics and even skincare products). In the process, your pores open up to allow fluid to pour through — at which point, your sweat picks up any excess oil and bacteria that’ve been clogged in your pores and flushes these substances out.
And here’s the coolest part: Scientists in Germany found that sweat contains something called dermcidin, a naturally-occurring antibacterial substance that effectively kills pimple-causing microorganisms on contact.
Besides that, working up a sweat stimulates the lymphatic system, the body’s other natural detox function.
Here’s how it works:
When you move your body, you encourage any stagnant lymphatic fluid — which carries toxins throughout the body — to drain via your excretory organs (like the liver and kidneys), where it’s expelled. And fewer toxins in your body always means clearer skin.
Finally, the process of sweating boosts circulation and oxygenation; two factors that contribute to your overall glow. When blood is circulating properly, your cheeks take on a healthy, rosy color — it’s honestly better than blush. This boost in circulation also carries oxygen to the skin cells, helping them retain moisture (buh-bye, dry skin) and produce more collagen (so you look younger, too). Consider it a free oxygen facial.
Obviously, you don’t want to sweat while you’re wearing makeup — that will only make potential pore clogs worse. And you do have to rinse off after a good sweat, to ensure all those bacteria and toxins aren’t reabsorbed into your pores — because the only thing your skin should be soaking up are the benefits of a good sweat sesh.
Photo Credit: @martasyrko