Friday, January 27, 2012

How to care for athletes' skin to prevent negative effects

It's obvious how great exercise is for healthy strong body and mind. But some side effects of exercise are not particularly beneficial for your skin.

When you exercise your cardiovascular system rushes freshly oxygenated blood to the surface to feed your muscles. Because of the high amount of oxygen content the bright red blood plumps up your skin making it larger and thicker. Perspiration naturally occurs to cool off your body and expels salt, oils and natural toxins on to the skin. These natural functions brought on by exercise and heat can cause a variety of consequences to your skin.

As fitness enthusiasts we have different nutritional needs, we need different clothing during our physical activity and we drink more water. However, many may not realize that their skin-care needs also differ.

Even those who have a clear complexion find that routine physical exertion can result in occasional blemishes, clogged pores, dryness and dullness. Scientists are still uncertain about the exact causes, but they do have some worthwhile theories and solutions.

Oily Skin
Sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands housed in the pores of our skin, reduces the skin's water loss and helps protect it from dryness and cracking. Anaerobic Bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, colonized on the skin, is neither helped or harmed. Sebum's presence in a blocked pore can lead to an acne lesion (blemish) or blackheads. Pimples tend to worsen because the swollen skin from a workout irritates the existing pimples and helps to create new breakouts which can be larger or painful.

Oily skin becomes oiler from sweating as the salts and acids mix with sebum which glues down dead skin cells creating a coating akin to plastic wrap on the skin. A deep pore cleanser and one which includes exfoliation benefits that does not strip necessary oils can help remove the extra oil that is brought to the skin's surface during exercise will remove the bacteria on the skin leading to a clearer complexion.

Adequate moisture levels are still necessary for this skin type. A moisturizer formulated with both camphor extracts to keep skin soft and Citrus extracts to stabilize oil levels and kill off bacteria is key for this skin type.

Dry Skin
During exercise, skin can become dehydrated due to the high levels of sodium in perspiration. People who consume sports drinks with added sodium may increase their likelihood of dry skin even more. Dry skin becomes more prominent, irritated, flaky and rough due to the high amounts of salts and acids deposited on the skin via sweat.

A cleanser with proper cleansing agents and astringents is essential for this skin type. Dry skin also needs to be gently exfoliated twice a week to rid dead skin cells and flaky skin. This will help for the moisturizer and nutrients in the cleanser to penetrate into the skin resulting in a softer appearance.

Some exercisers don't realize their skin has a dry appearance until they are on a specialized product regimen which eventually cures their dryness to a healthier appearance.

Combination Skin
This skin type needs to be balanced. In most cases using only one type of cleanser will not be the solution.

A cleanser formulated for this specific skin type would be best for every day use, but on days when skin feels oily or dry due to climate or workout conditions, alternating to a cleanser formulated for these occasional occurrences is necessary.

Combination skin also needs an exfoliating cleanser on a once daily basis and include a daily moisturizer twice a day.

Damaged or Neglected Skin
Many endurance athletes, swimmers and persons who engage in outdoor sports (runners, tennis players & sports lovers) suffer from sun damaged or prematurely aging skin. Some simply never made the time to care for their skin because of time demanding workouts. Exercise is said to be the fountain of youth, but when the skin is dried out, a dried wrinkly appearance results, and can make a person appear older.

Disciplining yourself by applying a long lasting sun block formulated for an athletic lifestyle and an anti aging treatment which emulates human sebum is key for this skin type. Cleansing the skin within 30 minutes of post workout will help rid sweat expelled toxins and bacteria that penetrate the skin after thirty minutes.

Applying a serum before exercise will help to protect the skin and generalize neutral waste in sweat. For those who don't have time to hit the shower after a workout, a chemical-free botanical mist formulated for post exercise is a good option, as it will help to kill odor and acne causing bacteria.

Most people will agree that exercise is good for the entire body. With the proper special care, fitness enthusiasts can sport healthy, vibrant skin and with careful product selection that healthy glow of exercise can shine through.

By Sandy Alcide. Sandy Alcide is the Founder of Motion Medica. A certified botanical skin care line widely known as innovators of beauty products for fitness lovers. The line has expanded with chemical free products for general skin care.
Copyright 2005. Revised 2012 All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Can exercise cause acne?

Working out at the gym may tone your muscles and cause the ladies and gents to swoon over your chiseled physique. But when they get a closer look and realize you’re covered in acne, your six-pack abs can’t save you. Skin, the body’s largest organ, can be riddled with acne problems after a workout.

Even if you don’t suffer from excessive acne, your training may be adversely affecting your skin. Yes, acne can be induced by exercise. But exactly what causes this? Scientists are still uncertain what the exact cause is, but they do have some worthwhile theories. Your lymphatic system is controlled by movement and operates best during exercise. The lymphatic system is also known as “the drainage system of the body”. This system consists of lymph nodes & vessels that carry lymph fluid around your body. This amazing circuit collects waste from tissues and returns it to the blood after it has been fully purified.

If the lymph is insufficiently activated, cells swim in their own waste which can block pores. Lymph fluid is a transparent, pale yellow fluid that carries cells that help fight infection. When the blood cells are not able to unload their toxins via the kidneys, they go to the next best eliminative organ: your skin! When bacteria starts to set in the pores it causes acne. A raised heart rate brought on by exercise also activates your oil- producing sebaceous glands. Some people have over active sebaceous glands to begin with and, when mixed with lymph fluid, toxins, or bacteria, the condition produces blemishes induced by exercise. This can creep up on us over a long period of time, which is why persons who never had acne are suddenly plagued by it, regardless of what age the exerciser is.

Because acne appears on one’s outermost layer, the epidermis, there are natural topical remedies which can be used to the exercisers’ advantage. Most acne treatments tend to dry the skin with chemicals and mass- production methods. Organic botanical and herbal extracts which use a processing method called “cold pressing” eliminate alcohol content. Some key plant ingredients in acne treatments are salicylic acid, derived from willow bark and aspen bark extract and coltsfoot. Salicylic Acid is a natural beta hydroxy acid which exfoliates surface dead skin cells (keratinocytes) and debris that cause acne.

Although there is no quick fix for acne, there are treatments that can help to keep the acne at bay once healed. Camphor, a thick oil derived from the wood of the cnamonum caphora tree, is grown in the Far East. It has been valued for natural remedies since the 12th century. Camphor is now being used to cure acne as a medicinal ingredient that purges skin to remove toxins. Bentonite is a fine mineral clay used to draw excess oil from the skin. When using products containing this combination of natural ingredients as a daily treatment, it has been proven to help with acne induced by exercise without drying the skin.

By Sandy Alcide Copyright 2007 All Rights Reserved. Sandy is the founder of Motion Medica skin care. A certified botanical skin care line widely known as the innovators of beauty products for the fitness lifestyle. The line also includes products for general skin care. sandy Alcide is a BioChemist and esthetician specializing in skin disorders. You may use this article or portions, but in order to do so you must include this paragraph and a link to