As a busy women’s health and beauty physician, I am frequently asked about my own skin care regimen. We have long appreciated the benefits of regular exercise for our heart, brain, bones and muscles. Exercise also helps to keep your skin looking youthful.
Genetics, ethnicity and lifestyle factors like occupation, smoking status and sun exposure can affect the extent of facial aging and skin deterioration. With time, skin ages with the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, loss of elasticity and textural changes. Over the past decade, we’ve now come to understand that what we once thought was a process of skin sagging is actually the result of loss of facial soft and hard tissue; bone, muscle, collagen, etc. This facial tissue loss leads to the three Ds of facial aging: deflation, deterioration, drift. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise has long been shown to provide many health benefits that may extend to helping to mitigate changes of facial aging. So if exercise can be part of the beauty plan, it would make sense to have a beauty plan to couple with your workout regimen.
Here’s a quick peek inside my gym bag, where I keep my top seven must-have items. These will help you to keep your skin with a healthy glow as you get fit.
Remove the oil, debris and any makeup you might be wearing from your skin before and after you work out. When your pores open due to heat of exercise and perspiration, you can cut the likelihood of a post-workout breakout.
Keeping yourself hydrated before, throughout and after the workout is so important. Energy drinks and caffeinated beverages like coffee, cola and tea can deplete total body water. Working out outdoors, especially in warm, humid or windy climates, can be further dehydrating, and water intake should be increased for the day post-workout.
This gentle antioxidant is great as a pre- and post-work out skin treatment. If used under sunscreen, it can increase the potency of sunscreen and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and pigment.
BioCell Collagen supplements
You may feel the need to reapply moisturizer after working out. Your skin may feel dry because you are dehydrated. Many energy drinks can also dehydrate you. They can wreak havoc on skin. While drinking ample water is important with your workout, it is important as well to hydrate skin from within. BioCell Collagen has been clinically shown to reduce skin dryness and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Its ability to safely promote skin beauty is supported by more than 20 clinical studies, including six human trials.
Protein builds muscle and regulates many metabolic processes. Protein shakes are good, but it is important to read the label. Choose brands that are free of added sugars, salts and chemical flavors. A top-quality protein powder should not only be palatable, but should also be free of artificial ingredients like processed sugars and chemical colors or flavors, and deliver about the same amount of protein as a can of tuna or a chicken breast (i.e., 30 to 40 grams per serving). Whey protein is most extensively researched in conjunction with building muscle. For patients who can tolerate milk protein, I encourage balancing the type and form of protein, i.e., whey, plant protein powders with a varied diet. Protein powders should be mixed with as few additional calories as possible i.e., blend with coconut water or almond milk and a small scoop of frozen blueberries. Aim for 25-35 grams per meal with a total protein intake of 1.6 per kilograms of bodyweight for an average female (lower daily protein intake may be necessary in the setting of kidney disease).
Snacks with healthy fats
Healthy dietary fat is needed to maintain healthy brain function and radiant skin. The diet is needed to provide essential omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital for optimal function of the neurological system, skin and have anti-inflammatory effects. Diets excessively restricted in fat lead to poor skin and nails. Omega 3 has been shown to increase the sunburn threshold adding to the protection factor of sunscreen and reduce skin problems like acne psoriasis and certain types of skin cancer. Nuts and seeds in a pre-workout snack and a post-workout meal of fish are good options.
Lots of research shows that outdoor exercise may be better for your brain, but without protection it may not be better for your skin. As an avid runner, I always ensure I have an ample layer of sunscreen. Apply sunscreen one hour before sun exposure, and reapply after you’ve worked out and showered. I ensure my sunscreen protects from both UVA rays that age you and are most closely associated with skin cancer and UVB rays that tan and burn skin. These products contain minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which act to physically block the sun’s rays. Avoid those that contain potentially carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene derivatives. The SPF rating does not indicate UVA protection factor, so read labels carefully. Along with sunscreen, I always wear a broad-rimmed running hat and sunglasses to further limit exposure.
These seven tips can help you get the most out your workout for your health and beauty! So while packing your running shoes in your gym bag, think about adding these additional items to maximize beauty benefits from your workout.