The surprising ways acne is related to exercise, doctors know enough nowadays to finally clear up some long-standing acne myths. For example, vigorous scrubbing and harsh cleansing makes acne worse, not better.
And acne seems to have almost nothing to do what you eat, and almost everything to do with the type of skin you have and what you slather on it (good news for fried food lovers). But what about the notion that exercise aggravates or even causes acne? Do you have to give up your morning run if you want clear skin?
As it turns out, while there is some evidence that very vigorous exercise may contribute moderate exercise doesn’t cause or aggravate acne. In fact, it actually helps clear the skin of acne sufferers.
There are several reasons for this. First, exercise makes your heart work harder and your blood flow faster. Faster-moving blood carries more oxygen to your skin and carries more waste products away, which nourishes your skin and protects its overall health. Second, while it doesn’t necessarily detoxify your body, exercise does flush unwanted cellular debris out of your system – mainly as you sweat.
That said, exercise can aggravate or promote acne in some indirect ways. For example, equipment or clothing that is too tight and doesn’t allow your skin to “breathe” can trap impurities, such as bacteria and dead skin cells, against your skin. It can also create friction, which can lead to chafing and a type of rash called acne mechanica. If you exercise outdoors, the very sunscreen that protects your skin from toasting can clog up your pores and cause breakouts. And because it quickly breeds bacteria that can settle in your pores, sweat can promote acne if it stays on the skin too long.
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