The ultimate skin care routine tailored to your fit lifestyle
Exercise, the good, the bad, and the ugly
Once upon a time, the struggle to keeping fit was just about finding the energy to get out of bed and put on that expensive gym gear bought on your credit card. Now exercise has become a whirlwind of multiple choices. Gym or class, outside or inside, to wear makeup or not to wear makeup. Those sexy lycra leggings or your boyfriends comfortable jogging pants. Once upon a time, we didn’t make the connection between sweating at the gym and our acne breakouts. So here is the lowdown on the good, bad and ugly for the seasoned gym goer.
- Working out on a regular basis helps your heart to pump more efficiently.
- Oxygen in your blood increases.
- Your body is able to detox easier.
- Your immune system finally wakes up and works better.
- It releases a happy chemical in your brain called Serotonin.
- You will sweat, no if’s or but’s about it. If you are a fitness addict, probably you love sweating and as a matter of fact sweating is healthy. This is because it is the way body and the skin protects itself from overheating. BUT if you don’t take care of your skin before and after your workout, sweat can cause dead skin, excess oil and even bacteria to become trapped in the pores of your skin.
- Your skin can often become damaged through rigorous workouts over a long period of time.
- The rubbing of tight clothing against wet skin known as chafing.
But all is not lost, there is a solution to every problem, and sometimes all it takes is a slight adjustment to your routine to erase these issues. So let’s go through some of the skin problems you may encounter doing regular work out.
- SUN INDUCED SKIN DAMAGES
- SWEAT INDUCED SKIN DAMAGES
- INTENSE WORKOUT INDUCED SKIN DAMAGE
- PRE & POST WORKOUT SKINCARE ROUTINE
- ARGAN OIL BENEFITS ON SKIN
- CHEMICALS TO AVOID IN YOUR DAILY COSMETIC PRODUCTS
- FOODS AND BEVERAGES YOU SHOULD(NOT) CONSUME
SUN INDUCED SKIN DAMAGES
When the weather outside is amazing and sun is shining, who wants to spend any time in a dark, crowded gym?! Also, for most of us, outdoor fitness activities make it easy to enjoy our workout, stay motivated and to burn those calories!
Let’s be honest, whether if you love spending time playing beach volley or tennis, exploring nature by hiking or cycling, or have a passion for sea sports; the last thing you want to think about when exercising outdoors is skin damage.
And how bad can it be when you are constantly on the move? It’s not as though you are lying in the baking sun for hours? Plus, haven’t we been told that working out gives beautiful glowing skin? Now we are being told that too much of a good thing can kill you. So what are the facts? Is it okay to work out in the sun? What can you do to repair the damage to your skin, and can the years of damage be repaired?
How does the sun affect my skin?
There is no easy way to say it. Too much sun is not good for your skin and we just learned that when our face is fully covered of sweat, it makes our skin photosensitivity higher.
Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) or radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. There are 2 main types of UV rays that damage our skin. Both types can cause skin cancer:
- UVB is responsible for the majority of sunburns.
- UVA penetrates deeper into the skin. It ages the skin, but contributes much less towards sunburn. Too much sun can also cause fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and discoloration to the skin.
The good news is, if done right, you can enjoy exercise outside and still have healthy skin. But first you must learn how to protect it, your future self will thank you for it!
Sunscreens with a higher SPF provides more protection from the harmful UVB, UVA and IRA rays, which are linked to the vast majority of skin cancers, as well as premature skin aging and eye damage. But of course, the solution is not that simple.
A sunscreen with SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB radiation, while an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks nearly 97 percent. On the other hand, there are potential downsides to using products with very high SPFs. First, higher SPFs may encourage people to neglect other photoprotective behaviors while the increase in UVB protection is minimal with SPF 50+ (which blocks an estimated 98 percent of UVB rays).
Also, while UVA protection is very important (UVA not only accelerates skin aging, but contributes to and may even initiate skin cancers), SPFs mainly offer UVB protection. Therefore, the importance of using a skincare product protecting from both UVB and UVA cannot be emphasized enough.
FRÉ is determined to protect women who work out regularly and need a protective skincare that keeps up with their lifestyle. Their facial moisturiser contains SPF30 and works to protect your skin from both UVB and UVA while you are working out.
What are the good sides of the sun on your skin?
There is no argument that the sun has many benefits. For instance, it is great for wellbeing and your mood. In particular, those who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) need the sun more than most. American Family physician (AAFP) suggests that ten to twenty percent of Americans suffer from the disorder.
But it is not just SAD suffers who rely on the sun. We all find enjoyment in warm weather, blue skies and longer days. Summer encourages us all to socialise more than during the winter months. You are more likely to take up a hobby, go for a walk and be more active than you are in the dark winter months. A recent study said that the sun releases a chemical in the brain called serotonin.
This is affectionately known as the ‘happy brain chemical.’ Serotonin is the same feel good chemical that is often released when exercising.
What damage has years of sun done to your skin?
The immediate effect of not looking after your skin is that your skin burns. We’ve all experienced it at some point, it’s not pretty and it hurts like hell. And let’s be honest, no-one likes looking like an Umpa Lumpa.
Most of the time though, it is hard for us to see the damage on our skin until it is too late. When you think your skin has got off scot free from burn or damage, your skin could actually be slowly deteriorating underneath the surface. Not only is skin cancer a real threat to outdoor lovers, but the awful truth is, 3.3 million people are treated every year in the U.S with skin cancer. And 1 in 5 American develop some form of skin cancer in the lifetime.
What are the benefits to protecting your skin from a young age?
Wearing sunscreen saves your life, it is that simple. Slap on some cream and away you go. Wrinkles, pigmentation, blotchiness and premature aging are just a few reasons why you should look after your skin now. Whether your skin is already damaged or not, it is never too late to start.
Does this mean we can no longer enjoy the sun?
No of course not. We need the sun; it contains vitamin D which is essential for our body. But we should be able to enjoy the sun safely. Even if the day is not particularly sunny or hot, the UV rays can still affect your skin. You should always use a cream with an SPF protection. SPF is a sunscreen protection that protects your skin specifically from UV rays that cause skin cancer. When choosing a moisturizer or sunblock, this should be one of the first things you look for.
Looking after your skin
Whether your skin is already damaged or you are lucky to have healthy skin, you should still look for ways to protect it from future damage. Protect your skin now, and you protect yourself from future skin issues. This is not an overnight result. Looking after your skin should be a life-long commitment as you would anything else you care about in your life. Implement this regime into your usual daily routine; protect, purify, and revive.
Repairing Your Skin
So how do we repair our damaged skin. The answer? Serums and creams. says Eagan, MN, dermatologist Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD. Easy, affordable and takes little or no time to add into your daily routine. Creams, and in particular serums contain a DNA that repairs your skin cells. Serums penetrate deeper than normal moisturisers. It takes out the regular water based ingredients in moisturisers and is replaced with antioxidants, which is great for anti-aging, and that beautiful skin glow. Beauty experts and makeup artists say every woman should have a serum in their cosmetic kit.
SWEAT INDUCED SKIN DAMAGES
One of the main issues women who work out regularly face is prolonged sweating. The good news is that sweating means you are actually doing some work. No-one ever got fit by just staring at the running machine.
What causes sweating?
Let’s get one thing clear. Sweating is normal. When the body overheats or is exerted, we sweat. Sweating cools us down, that’s its job. People also sweat excessively from nerves and high emotions. The fact is, on a normal day you can produce up to one litre of sweat. Those who exercise frequently on the other hand may produce up to ten litres in one day.
While this sounds like an enormous amount, it really isn’t, and the majority of it evaporates as soon as it appears.
What damage can sweating have on the skin?
Imagine having ten litres of sweat in your skin every day and the effects that can have on your pores. It’s not all bad, sweating opens your pores and releases all the bad stuff collecting inside. That is why spas and steam rooms are so popular.
However, long term sweat can affect your skin in many different ways. Although sweat intentionally is doing its job in removing dirt and grime from your skin, if this sits for too long then this does the opposite affect and forms spots, rashes or irritated skin.
Why do I sweat?
There are many different reasons why we sweat. It is never just one factor but in fact a number of different reasons. First of all, genetics dictates that you may sweat more than the average person. Diet also affects how much you sweat, ‘you are what you eat’ as the saying goes.
Your surroundings are another factor, is the environment you are in hot and humid? Are you in a hot climate but you’re your body is used to a more cooler climate? These are all reasons why we sweat so much or so little.
Skin problems caused by sweat
Let’s talk about the problems of skin created by sweating too much. When copious amounts of sweat sits on your skin for too long, your skin is going to suffer. Sweat on the skin can cause a build-up of grime and dirt which if left, become sweat spots, sweat sores, sweat blisters, sweat pimples and sweat rashes. Sweat bumps on your skin are the most visible, yet you can also suffer from sweat bumps on back, chest, sweat bumps on groin, and legs.
How to avoid sweat bumps
There are some easy tips to stop your skin from breaking out, and all it takes is a little effort, putting aside some time before and after your work out.
Here are some easy one, two, three tips that will change your skin game forever.
- Shower after exercise, make sure you wash off all that grime and dirt accumulated through sweating before it sits for too long and festers on your skin.
- Wash problematic areas twice a day. If you already suffer from problem skin like spots or rashes, look after it, treat it. Especially in the morning and before you go to bed, make sure your face is completely clean.
- Tie your hair away from your face and more importantly away from your skin. Having the grease from your hair mixed with sweat is detrimental for your pores.
- Wear sunblock if outside. If you are an outdoor runner then always wear sunblock. No exceptions. Even when the sky looks grey and the weather is cooler than normal.
Is the damage from sweating permanent?
No. Any damage done to your skin can be minimized or eliminated through a good skin routine. Your skin needs the same care you give your body.
When you go to the gym, for whatever personal reason you are taking care of your body. The same rules apply to your skin, the results are not immediate, but as a gym user you will understand that results do not happen straight away. You need to put in the work, be consistent, and treat your skin, you deserve it.
INTENSE WORKOUT INDUCED SKIN DAMAGE
Let us start with this, exercise is good for your body. Intense workout is even better. You are much more likely to see results when you put in the work. That rule can be applied to anything you want in life. Exercise is not just physical, it affects your brain, the way you see yourself, the way you think.
How does intense workouts affect your skin?
It is not just about acne and sweat bumps. Other parts of your body can suffer too. For instance, the stretching of your skin. Not wearing the appropriate sized bra could affect your breasts. The constant high energy movement in an ill fitted bra could give you saggy boobs.
Sabrena Merrill, a personal trainer and spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise says that ‘High-impact exercise, like running and jumping rope, can contribute to premature sagging by stretching out the ligaments in your breasts.’ Make sure you wear the right sized gym bra, get yourself fitted if necessary.
High level exercise creates a high level of sweating which can create spots and acne if not treated.
There are a variety of things we do that contributes to bad skin when exercising. For instance, wearing makeup and sweating will affect your pores. Heavy or tight clothing can rub against your skin creating spots, rashes or chafing.
We do things without realising like touch our face a lot. This is why it is particularly important to clean not only our face but the things we touch after exercise. If you listen to music on your phone or iPod during training, it is more than likely sweat and dirt is now all over it. Clean anything you use, this is especially a good rule with the appliances in the gym.
There is nothing worse that sweat and tight clothing rubbing against your skin. This can be avoided or limited to the wearing the right clothes. You may think being a fashion esta is more important than comfort, but tell your skin that after a few hours of soreness.
Choose loose clothing where you can move freely. When working out the last thing you want to be worried about is being uncomfortable. Neither do you want to be dealing with grazed and sore skin after the fact. Also keep yourself as dry as possible, warm, moist areas; in particular the groin is more prone to chafing.
Many of us love tackling long distances because it makes us feel fantastic but “runner’s face” threatens to take us away from the joys of running.
The term runner’s face is often applied to runners, mainly long distance runners who are over thirty years old. The name comes from a certain gaunt and skeletal look developed through intense exercise over a long period of time.
What causes “runner’s face” ?
Rumour has it that the extreme motion of your cheeks moving up and down during extreme exercise gives your cheeks that look gaunt and boney. It is also said that the combination of these exercises, and a strict diet gives older runners this look.
And let's not forget that most runner's do so outdoors. Extrinsic aging is responsible for most of the visible signs of prematurely aged skin. With repeated exposure to the sun, skin loses the ability to repair itself. While healthy skin produces both collagen and elastin, aging and repeated exposure to the sun slows down this process.
How to avoid runner’s face ?
It is essential to limit the sun exposure by using protective clothing, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15+ during exercise. Remember, as we mentioned earlier your sunscreen should contain both UVA and UVB protection.
As reapplying may not be so easy while running or biking a marathon or long distance it’s important to choose a product that remains on your skin for a long time.
Also, your body needs to keep some fat. Not all fats are bad for you. There are some that are healthy and quite necessary for instance;
Avocados are full of fat, 77 percent to be exact. It contains the same fatty acid that is in olive oil. It also contains fiber and good cholesterol.
Cheese contains the same amount of nutrients as a glass of milk. It is also full of vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are full of omega 3 and protein.
What causes Saggy Skin?
There is no one thing that causes saggy skin. It could be down to your genetics, or the way you live your life, the foods you eat etc. Dr Amber from plastic surgeon and author of The Youth Corridor says “it could be high-impact exercise like running, this can cause a jolt to the skin, which can tear up the collagen in the skin. It doesn't happen overnight, but it is one of the downsides to running."
Diet is not just important for the inner you. Neither is it just about your weight. It can also affect your skin and overall appearance. What you eat does not only show up on your hips but also shows on your skin. Breakouts on our skin are usually a hint that something you put on your face in your body is not working. For instance too much wine can dehydrate your skin, intensify wrinkles and facial lines.
PRE & POST WORKOUT SKINCARE ROUTINE
Sweating, the food we eat, the makeup we wear, how we treat our skin before and after workout all affects how our skin looks. It is easy for us to think that our hard work in the gym is all we need for an overall body make over.
There is no greater revelation to why our skin is suffering than to look at what we are feeding ourselves.
Why do we need a pre and post workout routine?
A pre workout routine is more than just stretching and drinking supplements. It is about preparing your body for what it is about to endure and bringing it down slowly and carefully afterwards.
This is especially true with your skin. It is important to prepare your skin and your body. Equally, after your workout, allow yourself to wind down slowly, and clean your face of all the dirt and sweat working out has produced so that your skin does not suffer.
Makeup or no makeup that is the question!
Don’t wear makeup when you work out. I know, there’s a hot guy at your gym and you don’t want him to see you without mascara. But imagine what happens to your skin when sweat mixes with that contour and blush? If you’re doing something like light weight training or restorative yoga – you can probably get away with leaving the makeup on.
But if you’re planning on getting good and sweaty – definitely remove your makeup. If you are a runner or work out outside then steer clear of heavy makeup and wear a light SPF.
Moisturize your skin
Dehydrated skin can cause your cells to die and this, amongst other things, accelerates aging. Your moisturizer should not be heavy. Use a lightweight cream that keeps your skin supple and hydrated.
Drink lots of water and eat
Never exercise on an empty stomach, believe me you won’t last long. Eat carbs one or two hours before you begin training to fuel your body.
Drink lots of water before, during and after workout to keep your body hydrated. On your training days eat foods high in energy and high in carbs. On your days off try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Cut out processed foods and foods high in salt and sugar.
Pick up this healthy habit: Cleanse your face
Cleaning your face is an essential daily habit to get into if you want to have a healthy skin. And definitely, cleanse your face before and more importantly, after a workout. It’s a pain but your future self will thank you. 123FRÉ is a comprehensive 3-step anti-aging treatment that creates healthy and resilient skin. While its formulas and textures are specially suited to skin that sweats, it’s also great as daily (non-workout) cleansing and moisturising treatments . “Purify Me” cleans your face of all the grime, and “Protect Me” hydrates and protects your skin. Also, “Revive Me” is great as an anti-aging serum to apply after your workout and every evening on non-workout days. It improves the natural regenerative and resilience capacity of the skin's stem cells, helping to rejuvenate the skin especially after your exercise.
Even on your days off from working out you should still look after your skin. Continue drinking lots of water. The recommended intake for a woman is 2.7 litres a day. This should increase on your workout day.
Not only is showering refreshing after a hard workout but it helps to cleanse your skin of all the toxins produced through sweat and grime created through a hard workout.
Treat yourself to a good steam
A regular steam is a good way to treat yourself and your skin. When you have had a stressful day, a bad skin day, or just need to look after yourself, steams are a great way to cleanse your mind, and body.
You can also buy a cheap face mask from your local store or make your own at home. Clean your skin and put on a face mask, then give yourself a good ten to fifteen-minute steam.
There is no better treatment for your mind body and soul than a good rest. An early night gives your body and mind time to replenish and rejuvenate for the next day. Stress, coffee, alcohol and late nights do not help your mind or your skin. If you find it hard to switch off at night, set your alarm, turn down your lights and turn off all electronics. Have a warm bath, read a book and train your mind to slow down and switch off.
Also try to set aside a few hours a week, or a day for yourself. This means no work, no exercise, nothing that is going to over work or strain your body.
Another way to treat your body is to have a full body massage or a face massage. It is clinically proven that a massage helps reduce stress, pain and tension. A face massage is also known to reduce the process of aging, reduces wrinkles and tightens the skin. A good massage also gives your skin a nice natural glow.
Part of your pre workout routine should involve using a good deodorant. Because of the excess sweating caused by exercise, a good clinically tested deodorant will help stop or at least minimise your workout sweat. This will also help eliminate chafing and under arm rashes.
If you are exercising outside, it is important to wear sunblock no matter what the weather is. A good sunblock will help protect your skin from the harsh weather, and the UV rays that can cause skin cancer. This is a good habit to get into whether you are working out or not.
Before your workout tie your hair up or tuck it away from your face. During workout your hair will become sweaty and damp. If your hair is on or near your skin, the sweat will transfer to your skin causing rashes, spots and acne.
ARGAN OIL BENEFITS ON SKIN
Argan oil is a plant originating from Morocco. You may recognise the name as it is now being used in many products due to its benefits.
How does it work?
Argan oil has a number of benefits and is used in foods, creams and hair products. Many use argan oil for its healing benefits. Stings, cuts, bites and rashes. It is also used as a natural moisturiser for the skin and hair.
What are the benefits to your body?
Argan oil is rich in vitamin A and vitamin E. It contains anti-oxidants, Omega-6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid. Many cosmetic companies use it as a toner, shaving, for acne, dry skin and for stretch marks.
What are the benefits to your facial skin?
No matter what your skin type is, argan oil works!
Argan oil hydrates, soften and protects your skin. For those with dry skin, it’s a fantastic moisturizer which also reduces itching and flakiness. On the other hand, for those who with oily skin, it’s super safe product to use. It is non-greasy and doesn’t clog your pores as it balances and neutralizes your skin’s innate oil production.
- Treats Acne
As we just mentioned above, argan oil balances your oil production. According to a study, 95% of volunteers experienced a visible reduction in excess sebum on the skin, and the area covered with oily spots decreased by 42% leading researchers to report that the argan oil cream can both reduce greasiness and improve the appearance of the skin.
- Prevent Premature Aging
Argan oil is an amazing balm to reduce and even erase the signs of premature aging. Its fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin A and antioxidants help skin to restore elasticity and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and increase the regeneration of healthy skin cells.
- Eye serum
Argan oil, as a natural product, is totally safe to use around your eyes. Its vitamin E content would help to reduce your fine lines and eliminate dullness.
The FRÉ researchers have proceeded several steps beyond the traditional uses of Argan oil by creating a unique formula known as Argania Active Complex© out of the kernel and the leaf of the Argan tree. With its breakthrough natural Argania Active Complex, a unique blend of organic Argan oil and Argan leaf water extract, enriched with Argan stem cells, FRÉ specializes in combatting workout-induced skin damage and the signs of aging accelerated by the combination of sweat, intense exercise, sun, pollution, and other environmental factors.
CHEMICALS TO AVOID IN YOUR DAILY COSMETIC PRODUCTS
Did you know that everyday chemical exposure to your skin is one of the most common causes of chronic disease in America? What you put on your face is equally as important as what you put inside your body.
There are lots of cosmetic products out there that contain ingredients that could irritate or breakout your skin. Or worse still put you at risk of diseases.
These are but a few ingredients in everyday makeup and cosmetics that could harm you.
Parabens is a preservative used not only in cosmetics, but also in foods. Parabens stops the growth of microbes. This is a chemical that can get into your skin and digestive system. The name Parabens may not be listed on labels so look out for the following words: methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, ethylparaben.
Sometimes organic products will have ‘paraben free’ on their labels. Parabens is used in creamy and foaming products such as moisturizer, shampoo.
The Risk: Mimics female estrogen and traces have been found in breast cancer tissues.
- Dibutyl Phthalate or DBP
DBP is more often than not in hair sprays and hair dyes. Dibutyl is usually hidden in labels under the word fragrance. As fragrance recipes are often undisclosed, companies can get away with not naming Dibutyl as an ingredient.
The Risk: Dibutyl enhances other chemicals in your body that can permanently alter your DNA. This amongst others includes sickle cell Anaemia.
- BHA and BHT
Often used as preservatives in food, and can be found in moisturisers and makeup.
The Risk: It is said that BHA and BHT can cause allergic reactions, interfere with hormones or cause cancer. Experiments proved that it was toxic in mice over a long period of time.
Butadiene is often found in shaving creams, spray sunscreens and foundations, and anti-fungal treatments that contain the propellant isobutene.
- Coal Tar
Coal Tar is a thick liquid that comes from burning coal. Often used in hair dyes and dandruff shampoos. When trying to find it on the label look for some of these words: coal tar, tar solution, benzin B70, high solvent.
The risk: Studies show that exposure to coal tar can cause tumour and nerve damage.
FOODS AND BEVERAGES YOU SHOULD(NOT) CONSUME
What you eat is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. There is no point exercising two or three times a week, then going home and ordering take-out every day. And while, most things are okay in moderation, let us talk about what is good for your body and what you should just flat out avoid.
Vitamins are a must.
Vitamins play a very important role in the development of your body. Different vitamins do different things, but in a nutshell it helps your metabolism, your immunity and your digestion.
Vitamins provide your body with supplements the body itself cannot produce. You can get your necessary vitamin intake from eating the right foods or taking vitamin tablets. Examples of food that carry vitamins are, carrots, sweet potato and kale which all have vitamin A. Meat, fish, egg and milk are high in vitamin C.
No to sugary desserts
No to sugary deserts but yes to dark chocolate (you’re welcome). Too much sugar in general is not good for your body and especial your blood sugar levels. Not to mention it erases all your hard work exercising. One of the main downsides to sugar overload is diabetes. Alarmingly, the centre of disease control and prevention says that 9.3 of the U.S population are diagnosed with diabetes.
What you can have however is dark chocolate. According to the Authority of Nutrition, dark chocolate is filled with fibre and nutrition. Consumed in moderation it certainly won’t harm your body as other sweets can.
No to processed foods
Processed foods such as takeaways, TV dinners, or anything that comes in a packet is usually unusually high in salt and sugar. They are also filled with artificial ingredients. The problem with processed food is the high sugar and salt feeds your sugar addiction, and like any addiction you over indulge, you want more. It’s hard to draw the line unless you have an extreme case of will power.
No Alcohol (except red wine)
There is nothing good ever came from alcohol consumption except temporarily feeling good, and embarrassing dancing at the Christmas party. Alcohol in a nutshell is bad for your skin, and bad for your organs, if taken in large or regular quantities.
However, there is a one alcoholic drink you can get away with, and that is red wine. According to Authority Nutrition, studies have shown that red wine, taken in moderation could help reduce heart disease. This is because of the antioxidants found in red wine that helps prevent heart attacks.
No to Soda
Fizzy drinks are definitely a no-no. Not only will regular consumption of sugary drinks put you at risk of diabetes but also heart disease and obesity. To put this in perspective, there is approximately thirty nine grams of sugar in a can of coke. For women, the more sugary drinks you consume, the more you are at risk of breast cancer.
In summary, it is all about feeling good as well as looking good. It is about prevention and taking care of your future self before it is too late.
Start from the inside and everything else will fall into place. The only rule is to look after yourself, whether it be from the sun, from sweat bumps, acne or bad food. Change your lifestyle and the effort will be worth it.