Did you know that exercise and skin health go together?

Even the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) agrees that working out can “do wonders for your skin.”

Here’s how to make sure you get all the youthful skin benefits you deserve from your daily workout.

Exercise and Skin: 5 Ways Your Workout Helps You Look Younger

1. Improves Blood Flow Nourishes Skin Cells

When you exercise, your heart steps up its work to pump blood throughout the body. This extra blood gets oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells, giving them everything they need to conduct skin repair. It also helps carry away waste products from the skin, flushing cellular debris out of the system.

2. Decreases Stress

We’ve talked about how stress damages the skin and makes you look older. It aggravates skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, dries the skin, and spikes cortisol levels. Cortisol impairs barrier function and over time, can cause premature aging.

Exercise helps you shed stress, which in turn, helps keep stress from damaging your skin. Since cortisol can spur oil production on your skin, regular exercise may also help you reduce your acne breakouts.

3. Makes You Look Younger!

Dermatologists have long suspected that exercise can help you look younger. Several studies have shown evidence of this.

In one study, for instance, researchers found that after the age of 40, the men and women who exercised frequently had markedly thinner, healthier stratum corneums and thicker dermis layers in their skin. Their skin was much closer in composition to that of the 20- and 30-year-olds than to that of others of their age, even if they were past age 65.

In another study, researchers found that those who regularly exercised (more than four hours per week of high-intensity aerobic exercise) were able to slow skin aging and reduce skin thinning compared to those who were sedentary (less than one hour per week of high-intensity aerobic exercise).

4. Inspires Changes in Skin Cells

Inside each skin cell is an engine called the “mitochondria.” This engine creates fuel known as ATP. This fuel is needed to repair skin damage and keep the skin looking young.

As we age, unfortunately, our cells’ mitochondria start to make less ATP. Exercise, however, can jumpstart the mitochondria and get it working harder again. This may, in turn, give the skin more of what it needs to maintain its structure and health.

5. Helps You Sleep Better!

A lack of sleep makes you look older.

You already know that sleep deprivation is bad for your overall health. But recent research has shown that it’s bad for your skin too.

In one study involving 60 women between the ages of 30 and 49, researchers evaluated the skin while asking the women about their sleep habits. They found that poor-quality sleepers showed increased signs of skin aging including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slackening of skin, and reduced elasticity.

Good quality sleepers, on the other hand, recovered more efficiently from stressors on the skin and showed younger-looking skin overall.

If you’re having trouble sleeping and you’re noticing negative changes in your skin, try daily exercise. Studies show it can help. In one 2018 review, scientists found that exercise improved sleep quality, and in an earlier study, exercise promoted increased sleep efficiency and duration no matter what type of exercise the participants engaged in.

Exercise and Skin: Take a Few Precautions

As you can see, physical activity has a direct positive effect on skin cells. But you have to take a few precautions. If you don’t, you could end up with increased acne breakouts, skin infections, redness, irritation, and chafing.

These outcomes are easy to avoid. Just make sure you:

  • Remove your makeup before you work out. When you sweat, the makeup can clog your pores, causing breakouts and other skin issues.
  • Protect your skin. If you’re exercising outdoors, don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun. Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all skin not covered by clothing.
  • If working out causes your skin to become chapped or windburned, apply some moisturizer (our Restorative Skin Balm works great!) before heading out.
  • Choose the right fabrics. Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester wick sweat away from your skin and dry quickly, preventing clogged pores and cooling your overall body temperature. Make sure your workout clothes fit loosely, as tight clothing can rub against and irritate your skin.
  • Wear the right shoes. To avoid blisters and chafing, make sure your shoes fit well and wear moisture-wicking socks.
  • Stay clean. Cleanse your skin after exercising. A shower is best if you can. Otherwise, wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Avoid contact with equipment or towels that aren’t clean, as they can cause skin infections.

Exercise CV Skinlabs

How CV Skinlabs Can Help with Your Exercise and Skin Health Goals

If you haven’t been exercising regularly lately, we suggest you try it for 3-4 weeks and see if you see improvements in your skin. Try a daily 30-minute walk or jog, sign up for a dance or spinning class, or get involved in community sports.

The important thing is to choose something you will enjoy and stick with for the long term. It can be as simple as getting a group of friends together for a daily bike ride or making sure you’re the one to take the dog for a walk.

We suggest you use our products to make sure you don’t experience any negative effects of exercise:

  • Our Restorative Skin Balm applied before exercise can help decrease your risk of chafing and irritation.
  • Our moisturizers (Calming Moisture and Body Repair Lotion) are great after your post-workout shower for maintaining the skin benefits of exercise. You can also use them before you go out to be sure your skin stays protected.
  • Our Rescue + Relief Spray makes a soothing mid-workout mist to help prevent mid-workout dryness and flush away sweat.

Have you noticed a connection between how often you exercise and how your skin looks?

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It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, if you’re a mum I’m guessing you spend of lot of your time feeling and therefore looking tired. Hey, I’m a mum, I totally get it. From the broken sleep of the early days, the energy required to keep up with a toddler, the juggling act of the school days, right through to the hormone riddled angst of the teenage years and that’s before you’ve even factored in your own hormonal shifts. Motherhood is certainly a rollercoaster ride! And whilst bottomless cups of coffee and energy restoring yoga sessions can certainly help see you through the day, there’s no hiding those tell-tale signs of tiredness and aging from your face. Which is why I want to talk firstly about the idea of facial fitness and then introduce you to BEAR, a piece of beauty tech from FOREO Sweden, that’s helping me with my skincare routine.

What Is Facial Fitness?

OK so it’s pretty straightforward really, facial fitness is exactly as it says… fitness for the face. Just like we work out our bodies to achieve a toned and sculpted look, we can do precisely the same for our face.

As we age everything starts to get a little looser. Skin starts to sag, muscles start to weaken, and we just kind of lose our glow if you like. And that’s just a natural part of the ageing process. If you throw in external stressors like not getting enough sleep, not drinking enough water, sun exposure, stress, not cleaning your skin properly, and even things like rubbing your eyes or sipping from a straw, your skin will show those signs even more so and a lot sooner too. Far be it for me to say that it’s the kids’ fault, but jeez those lovable little critters don’t half wear you out, right?!

So, what can we do about it and how do we give this facial fitness thing a go? Well, there are a few different ways you can give your face a workout. Things like facial yoga (yes, that’s actually a thing!) and other movement based exercises can help to tighten the muscles in the face and therefore reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But what I want to look at today is a way of achieving a firmer, more toned complexion that takes up just a mere 3 minutes of your daily skincare routine, gets the oxygen flowing, encourages collagen production, combats premature skin aging and plumps up the skin to give an overall more youthful appearance. Let me introduce you to BEAR.

How Can BEAR Help Me?

BEAR is a sleek handheld device, about the size of your palm, which has two metal balls embedded in one end. It works through the use of microcurrents and T-Sonic™ pulsations to give targeted facial muscles a really good workout. Now, I get that it all sounds a bit complicated, I mean ‘microcurrents’, ‘T-sonic pulsations’, like seriously what does this all mean? Basically, it’s electricity baby! Microcurrent technology uses low-frequency electrical currents to stimulate the muscles under the skin, which over time helps stimulate collagen production, tighten, tone and sculpt. Imagine how your muscles look and feel when you do bicep curls with weights, that’s what BEAR is doing to the muscles in your face. It is an at-home, spa standard, non-invasive facelift and I am all for that.

Let’s go back to talking about collagen for a moment; the absolute holy grail of youthful looking skin. Collagen is a protein that is naturally produced by the body throughout our entire life, however levels of this super protein start to deplete as we age. From about the age of 25, collagen production starts to decrease at a rate of 1% per year and this increases up to 5% during the perimenopausal years. As women hit the menopause, this is when collagen levels really take a nosedive, decreasing to a whopping 30% a year. Now, what makes collagen so amazing is that it helps keep the skin elastic and stretchy. I like to think of it as being like scaffolding for our muscles and skin, in that when there’s lots of it it can easily hold things in place where they’re meant to be, strong and tight. Yet when levels start to drop, and our scaffolding system isn’t so sturdy, that’s when things start falling down, quite literally!  As we produce less collagen, our skin becomes thinner and drier, and those dreaded wrinkles start to form. It’s bye bye youthful bounce, hello saggy lines.

It’s not all bad news though, because although the odds are stacked against us, we can assist the collagen production process through the use of devices such as BEAR. The microcurrent technology in BEAR helps stimulate the production of collagen and so our scaffolding is re-enforced and strong once more. 

How Do I Use BEAR?

Firstly, don’t panic. It might sound like it’s going to be a faff to work out how to use it, or you might worry that you could end up electrifying yourself, but trust me it’s fine. You definitely won’t get an electric shock from using BEAR. It is the only at-home microcurrent devices that features Anti-Shock System™, a clever in-built system that automatically adjusts in intensity to ensure complete safety of use. And no, it doesn’t hurt. Of course you can feel it, it’s a sort of fizzy tingling sensation, but as long as you’ve applied a water-based serum to your face beforehand, the device will glide across your skin and you’ll barely feel a thing.

Right, so now we’ve cleared that up let me tell you how to use BEAR. Just like FOREO’s other devices, for example UFO and the LUNA 3, BEAR is a rechargeable device that can be connected via Bluetooth to the free FOREO app which you can download onto your phone. Once you’ve connected it to the app, you can then choose from various different settings, including:

  • 5 levels of intensity – My advice is to start low and build up with use.
  • A choice of Basic or Pro intensity – Basic is better for long term consistent use, whereas Pro is for more of a punchier facial fitness workout, so again start low and build up with use.
  • 3 Programmed facial workouts – Total Facial Knockout (2.5 minutes for an overall tone and sculpt), Contour Cardio (2.1 minute targeting fine lines around the mouth and the contours of your cheekbones, Gentle V-Shape Yoga (2.5 minutes of a more relaxing workout)

Once you’ve set your preferences on the app, it’s simply a case of following the guided instructions, which will also include the application of the serum. I used FOREO’s Serum Serum Serum, a water-based blend of hyaluronic acid and squalane that acts as a conductor to help transmit the microcurrents below the surface of the skin. When you’ve been using BEAR for a while you will reach a stage where you won’t even need to use the app any more if you don’t want to, and that’s totally fine, it works with or without. And that’s it. A professional standard energizing facial workout that trains and tones the 69 muscles of your face and neck, and which if used consistently will produce lasting results, no matter what life throws at you.

I can’t unfortunately provide you with the answer to getting your kids off to sleep, or to stop them waking up super early, or how to deal with your stroppy teen (seriously though, if any one has any advice on this last one, please let me know!) , but what I can safely say is that by using BEAR as part of your daily 6 minute skincare routine you can certainly disguise how tired and stressed you are.

My Experience Of Using BEAR

You may see some improvement after the first use of BEAR, although you would literally have to be scrutinising every teeny tiny aspect of your face to really notice much change. It’s a bit like when you’ve done your first workout at the gym, 1 session isn’t going to turn you into the toned, athletic goddess you aspire to be but your muscles will certainly feel a bit tighter, more stretched out and a bit glowy, and the same goes for your facial fitness, it takes time. According to FOREO in order to get those noticeably visible improvements you need to have been using BEAR daily for around about 2 months. Now as you may know, I am nothing but honest, and so I’m not going to try and pull the wool over your eyes and tell you that I have been religiously doing this every day for the past 2 months because I haven’t. I have in fact been using BEAR for roughly 3 weeks now, and whilst my skin is far from perfect, I have started to see a few changes that I am loving.

My skin feels like it is getting tighter and as such I am noticing that some of my lines aren’t quite as prominent as they were before. I’ve suffered from enlarged pores for ages and I’m sure this doesn’t help the outbreaks of hormonal acne I get each month, but since using BEAR these outbreaks definitely haven’t been as bad and my skin feels smoother and less angry as a result. I’m not great at sticking to a routine, it takes me a while to get the good habits fully ingrained, however what I love about BEAR and indeed all of the FOREO devices I have used, is how quick and simple they are to use. It slots in really well into my morning routine and doesn’t take too much time away from the other things I need to be doing. And there’s nothing nicer than starting off the day with a fresh face, it literally makes you feel invigorated and energized, as though you can literally face anything (excuse the pun!) So yeah, I might feel still feel like a tired mum, but I certainly don’t look like one anymore.

*Article written in collaboration with FOREO Sweden. All views and words are my own.

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