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AN IRRESISTIBLE GLOW: How running affects your skin complexion

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Everyone knows that running is a great choice for burning calories, strengthening muscles, and improving heart health, but fewer people realize that a cardio workout such as running can affect your skin. Usually, running can improve blemishes, fine lines, and wrinkles or give normal skin an irresistible glow. Occasionally it can have the opposite effect and cause skin problems.


Intense cardio activity increases blood flow. That increase in blood flow carries #oxygen and vital nutrients to the skin. This surge in nutrients can supply collagen and elastin tissue with necessary tools to create a healthy growing and repairing the environment, meaning a possible reduction in some of the common signs of aging, such as lines and volume loss.


The constant rubbing of skin on clothing or skin on the skin may lead to red, raw skin around the bra line, nipples underarms, thighs, and feet. To avoid this, you will need to moisturize and use #ointments to avoid a blister and you may want to consider covering the area with athletic tape or moleskin until it heals.


Many runners report a decrease in acne symptoms. When we sweat, perspiration can push cellular debris out of the pores, resulting in clean pores and clear skin. Another benefit of such a high-intensity workout is that people tend to drink more water, helping tremendously with the detoxification and hydration of the skin. Regular physical activity can help regulate hormones, in some cases, revealing a much clearer complexion.


Alternatively, body acne may develop on your back, chest, and neck. This happens when bacteria on the skin get trapped in pores from sweat and sebum. Also, the hormonal shift (more male androgen and less female estrogen) that takes place from increased running can trigger acne. The key is to avoid marinating in sweaty cotton clothes and run-in material that is breathable and will wick moisture away from the body. Take a shower within an hour after a run and use a benzoyl peroxide-based #cleanser or antibacterial soap to help reduce the chances of body acne.


An athlete's foot is a red, scaly, and itchy condition that is usually caused by a fungal infection and can really slow down your pace. To prevent the athlete's foot, make sure to shower after a run and keep feet cool and dry when possible. Nail conditions such as nail splitting, fungal infections, and ingrown nails can also put a damper on your #workout. Make sure to wear properly fitting, supportive athletic shoes, and again, keep your feet clean and dry.

Even though running comes with some very positive skin perks, there are some situations when runners need to be extra cautious to avoid skin damage. First and foremost, always wear sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 when you're out for a run, even on cloudy days.

You are more likely to receive a sunburn when you're physically active. People with #eczema or psoriasis need to moisturize prior to a run to minimize the chance of a flare-up. If you suffer from rosacea, try to hit the pavement when it's a bit cooler out or commit to winter runs to help prevent flushing. If you do happen to overdo it, you can use a cold compress or calming facial products with green tea to help alleviate redness.

Whether you're just starting, planning a 5K, or training for a #marathon, use these skin benefits as another motivator to get you moving. Keep lacing up and it won't be long until you run right into a #glowing complexion!


Runners, bikers, boaters, #golfers, and any others with very active outdoor lifestyles need to have annual full-body exams with a #dermatologist to prevent skin cancer. Pay special attention to applying sunscreen on the hands, neck, and ears. Don't ignore a red patch or a sore that won't heal in these sun-exposed areas.

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