After getting in a good workout, your first instinct is usually to take a shower. That makes sense. A good sweat could have you feeling grimy. But did you know that sweat from exercising is good for your skin?
Exercise is ultimately what keeps your skin healthy and tight. It’s good for every part of the body and the skin is no exception. Your skin has several layers that vary in thickness. As you age, the outer layers get denser, while the inner support layers get thinner and flimsier. This results in a weakened layer relationship, leading to wrinkles and sagging. When you exercise, you increase your blood circulation, nourishing and strengthening those inner layers. This reverses the aging process, making sure that layer relationship is intact.
The resulting sweat is an added bonus. For one, sweat contains glycoproteins that bind to unhealthy bacteria, keeping them outside your body. There’s a specific micro-peptide in your sweat – dermcidin – that guards your skin from any harmful germs. The sweat also hydrates the skin, salt naturally exfoliates, and urea and uric acid combat dry skin and dermatitis.
This is not to say you should be bathing in your sweat. While it does have its perks, you shouldn’t let it outstay its welcome. It’s a slippery slope. Over time, the ammonia and urea in your sweat turns it into an irritant, causing inflammation. Additionally, the sodium dehydrates the skin, leading to flakiness. Another cause of dehydration is evaporation. If the sweat dries out, that means it’s evaporating.
You don’t have to wash up immediately after a workout. Just be sure to cleanse your skin shortly after a cool down. Even then, you don’t have to go the whole nine yards. A gentle cleanse does a lot more than an intense scrubbing. Scrubbing does about as much good as scratching does. Remember to be gentle, even when drying off.
Before your next workout, here are steps to give your skin the perfect glow.
Preemptively Wash Your Face
You don’t want your sweat mixing with anything gross, so be sure to get a quick rinse in before you get moving. If you’re working out under the sun, use sunscreen with an SPF of 45 or higher.
To really ensure hydration, drink water throughout your workout. The more you drink, the more you dilute your sweat of any potential stressors or irritants.
Wear Skin-Friendly Clothes
To prevent damage, wear clothes that wick moisture away from the skin. Not only does this prevent sweat overload, but chafing and rashes as well.
Next time you work out, you don’t have to worry about sweat harming your skin. You can rest easy knowing that, in moderation, it’s helping. In other words, don’t sweat it.