The Good and Bad of Exercising and Acne

What New Year would be complete without a well-meaning resolution to start exercising more? I know that I’m a few weeks late on the whole Jan 1st thing, but I’ve absolved myself of any guilt as it relates to working out for the first 19 days of 2011 and I’ve set my sights on the remaining 346 days of this year.

In an effort to reduce my acne causing stress and of course, to look ravishing in my wedding dress, I joined a gym today and I’ve started my journey to a kick ass wedding body. Of course, since no good deed goes unpunished, I know I’m going to have a higher chance of acne breakouts. Here’s the ‘skinny’ on acne and exercise.

Exercise and sweat are always good. Well, almost always. As you exercise, toxins are being released from your body, right along with the sweat. Working up a good sweat a couple times a week can improve your skin, as well as the rest of your body. But (there’s always a ‘but’), sweat can also be the culprit when it comes to post workout breakouts. Here are a couple tips that athletes know to avoid exercise induced acne:

Shower as soon as possible – If you don’t shower off soon after working out (not more than 30 minutes) all of those toxins and bacteria will sit on your skin, creating a breeding ground for breakouts. Yuck!

Wear loose fitting, cotton clothing – Now you may look great in spandex tank tops (I don’t, but you may), however tight fitting spandex or other material that doesn’t really breathe can trap the bacteria as well as cause rubbing and irritation. The perfect environment for growing pesky pimples.

Drink lots of water – If you become dehydrated, your skin will start producing more oil. That of course can lead to . . . more zits! Drinking water before, during and after your workouts will help your body release the unwanted toxins without kicking your oil producing glands into overdrive.

So if you’re an athlete (or just someone pretending to be one – like me), make sure you take the proper precautions so that your time at the gym doesn’t wreak havoc on your skin.

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I Need My SPF

I almost forgot one very important item on my New Year’s Resolution list . . .

Wear sunscreen every day!

This is another really easy, but very important thing that I’ve been neglecting when it comes to taking care of my skin. Sometimes it’s hard before I leave the house, early in the morning, to remember to put on sunscreen. After all, the sun is barely waking up and it is January. Winter doesn’t exactly feel like sunscreen weather. But I know that there are a couple really good reasons to remember to wear my trusty SPF 30 each and every, sunny or non-sunny day.

Reason #1 – I’d rather not have skin cancer.

Obviously. We all need a little sunshine, but the fact is, too much exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can not only give you a sunburn, but they can also penetrate deep into your skin and interfere with your body’s ability to fight the spread of those evil little cancer cells.

Reason #2 – I’d rather not look any older than I have to.

I already have adult acne. I don’t want to have wrinkles too!  Too much sun means older looking skin. I’m pretty sure my skin will look old enough at some point. No reason to help Father Time. Excess sun will, over time, make your skin look think, leathery and wrinkled. Yuck!

If looking old and possibly getting cancer aren’t enough to convince me, I also found out that overexposure to the sun can also cause age spots, problems with immune system, actinic keratosis, which are growths on the skin caused by the sun (ew, gross!), and even cataracts.

Despite what some people think, your skin is exposed to the sun all of the time – when you’re driving a car, walking across the street to lunch, waiting to pick up your kids from basketball practice. I read that, for this reason, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 every day.  

One easy way to remember your sunscreen is to buy a moisturizer that contains sunscreen in it. I picked one up today. Presto! Two resolutions taken care of in one bottle! This year is going pretty well so far.

Better Late Than Never

Ahhhh!! Is it the New Year already? I don’t even know how it happened. I was preparing for the holidays, then I was recovering from the holidays and then BAM!! It’s January 17th. I haven’t started 2011 off very well. First, I haven’t updated my readers in over a month. Shame on me!! And I haven’t even MADE a list of New Year’s Resolutions . . . let alone start working on them.

Ok. Here it goes. My new year starts today. And I’m in bad shape, so it won’t be too difficult to come up with some resolutions. Like many of us, I got busy over the holidays and as a result, my acne has gotten out of control again. All of my good habits – down the drain. But, there’s no time like the present! Back to my good, daily habits that will hopefully help me control this terrible curse called acne.

  1. Wash off my makeup. I’m embarrassed to say how often I go to bed without washing off my makeup. I feel like I barely have any on by the time I go to bed, so it’s really easy to forget. But I know that whether or not I can see it, dirt and makeup have built up on my skin all day and sleeping on it is not a good idea.
  2. Use a moisturizer regularly. How did I forget this? I got out of the habit of putting on a moisturizer after I wash my face, so now I only do it when my face feels dry. But with my sensitive skin, this means a yo-yo effect of dryness that just seems to aggravate my acne. Back to daily moisturizing. I’m sure my flaky skin will thank me.
  3. Switch (back) to non-comedogenic makeup. I used to be really good about the kind of makeup I used, but lately I’ve just been picking up whatever looks good or whatever I have a coupon for. I think it’s time again to research some non-acne causing makeup. Good plan, huh.
  4. Find a good anti-aging product. This is something I’ve been meaning to check out for some time now. It’s better to start it before you have wrinkles, right? I’ll do some googling and get back to you on this one.

Ok. This is a pretty short list. Totally do-able. 2011 – here I come!