Exercise for the Skin

Nourish skin cells and keep them vital with exercise

As an esthetician and massage therapist, I’ve had the privilege of working on various people from all over the world, and I’ve heard several stories and testimonies from clients regarding their health. I learned how a change in habits saved their lives, and it was usually something that I deeply needed to hear on that particular day; stories that I’ll never forget related to health and wellness. Our skin, the beautiful and largest organ, needs exercise as much as the rest of our body. Aside from the liver, the skin is the biggest detoxifying agent and can help prevent and repair the damage in our body. Not to mention it protects everything underneath it!


The morning is my favorite time to reflect, breathe, and prepare for the day. I notice a difference in how I feel throughout the day when I get moving first in the morning. After about forty, most of us begin to experience a thickening of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin, composed mostly of dead skin cells and some collagen. This layer gets drier, denser, and flakier with age. While this is all occurring on the outer layer, the dermis’s inner layer begins to thin, lose elasticity, and cause more of a sagging appearance to the skin. In a scientific study, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky found that after forty, men and women who frequently exercised had skin biopsies showing a closer composition to that of 20- and 30-year olds, compared to those who did not regularly exercise.

Just think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside when you get your body moving.

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Exercise, nutrition, and natural skincare have been the keys to keeping my adult, cystic acne under control. I’m approaching forty, so I can also emphasize that nutrition is now, more than ever, becoming a vital key as I’m entering the perimenopause years. Exercise and nutrition are partners in every body function, and one without the other throws our bodies out of whack. I can always tell when something is out of balance in my body, as it reflects on my skin. Yes, even us estheticians deal with skin issues, but while we all wish for that perfect complexion, I’m grateful that my skin “talks” to me and lets me know that something is internally off. It has helped me to become a better esthetician over the years to help my clients. Acne, along with any skin disorder or disease, can be detrimental to self-esteem. Don’t forget that you’re beautiful inside and out, no matter what you’re facing.


We’ve probably all heard of the post-workout glow. According to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin.” Marmur continues, “Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin… the job of neutralizing toxins belongs mostly to the liver. But by increasing blood flow, exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system.” In effect, exercise keeps the skin cells vital and nourished, so give yourself a big smile in the mirror or a pat on the back every time you do something positive and healthy for your body.

I’ve been weight training, exercising, and hiking for years. It took me a long time to truly understand the importance of exercise to help all of the organs function better as one magical body, in turn, providing a healthier, more vibrant complexion. Speaking of hiking, remember to protect your skin from “UVAging” rays and “UVBurning” rays (a fun way to remember this) if you prefer being outside to get your sweat on! Most of us are aware of the damaging effects too much sun exposure can have.

Also, keep an eye on the ingredients in your Sunscreen, especially using chemical over physical sunscreens. I prefer to find brands that have no more than three chemical ingredients, keeping in mind that it’s just as essential to put good things on our skin as it is to sweat and filter out the internal toxins through exercise.

It all reflects on our skin what can be going on inside the body by what’s coming out. Just think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside when you get your body moving. Try to find activities that make you smile and look forward to so that you’re more likely to keep it in your routine. Love and value the body you’ve been given. You’ll thank yourself when you’re older — believe me, I’ve heard it. In the words of Baz Luhrmann, author of Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen, “Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.”