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Why does exercise affect acne?

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I've seen people recommend more excercise to help clear acne, and after doing a forum search, I couldn't come up with much that pointed to why this is always recommended. Granted, everyone needs to exercise for better health anyway, and any excuse to do so I'll take, but I'd like the specifics on why this may help some people with their acne. I'm going to begin exercising more, although it's going to be tough since I wake up at 4:30 am to work, and am pretty exhausted when I get off, but we'll see where this takes me. Increased exercise could also help my recent bouts of insomnia.

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I agree that exercise does help to improve acne, and in my experience it has shown great results. I think taht exercise can be a more dramatic way of clearing skin than diet if the type of exercise you do gets you to SWEAT A LOT. It is my personal opinion that acne is a symptom of liver overload which can be caused by a number of different reasons. If this is in fact the case, the skin is helping the liver by taking over and also excreting waste through acne. I know that this is not supported by the medical community but this is the approach that worked for me when conventional approaches did not. Anyway, sweating speeds up the rate at which the skin is getting rid of whatever wastes it is getting rid of, and this in turn decreases the toxic load on the body. Europeans subscribe to this line of thought and this is evidenced in the popularity of the sauna as a detoxification method. Exercise in general is supposed to be great for the lymphatic system.

If in fact hormonal balance is to blame, I have heard some say that exercise helps to rebalance hormones...

I'm sure some of you out there will think this is total garbage, but the "reducing liver overload" keeps my skin clear, and I can easily break myself out by eating certain foods.

I remember somebody on a forum say that acne is not its own disease but a symptom of something overloading the body's detoxification systems, so it can be caused by a variety of different things. That helped me put things in a better perspective.

Hope that helps.

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I was unaware that it was the sweat that was helping clear up your face. Actually I'd always felt bad when my face was covered in sweat and assumed that it was just going to clog my pores and cause more breakouts! This is an interesting way to look at acne. I was thinking that exercise in itself was enough to help, but now I see I need to be exercising hard to make sure that sweeat is flowing. Thanks for the quick and lengthy reply Lemantis.

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"Exercise can help acne by increasing the blood flow to the skin and providing oxgyen to the skin cells. Moderate sweating will clean the pores from the inside. This in turn will aid skin health and reduce acne by both preventing further outbreaks of acne and helping existing acne disappear. Spots and blackheads will heal quicker and scars will fade.

Exercise will improve the fitness of your internal organs so they will be able to work more efficiently. Improved cardio-vascular fitness will mean your heart and lungs will get oxygen round your body more effectively. Your liver, kidneys and bowel will be able to work better to get the right nutrients out of the food you eat and get toxins out of your system more quickly. Exercise rebalances hormones and reduces stress  both are precursors of acne."

(from http://www.acne-advice.com/exercise/index.shtml)

but if you sweat, you should shower or at least wash your face. letting the sweat stay on your skin will make things worse.

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I was unaware that it was the sweat that was helping clear up your face.  Actually I'd always felt bad when my face was covered in sweat and assumed that it was just going to clog my pores and cause more breakouts!  This is an interesting way to look at acne.  I was thinking that exercise in itself was enough to help, but now I see I need to be exercising hard to make sure that sweeat is flowing.  Thanks for the quick and lengthy reply Lemantis.

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I think exercise can help as well as aggravate your acne. Since during excercise you put your body and mind through stress. I feel how you deal with that stress and how much stress you put on yourself determines the reaction on your skin.

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Yes but physical based stress (Not injury of course) is healthier than most psychological stress (I say most because some stress is good and motivating but the majority is like, "OMG! I ate a grape, the sugar will surely break me out, I'm going to die andd there's nothing I can do about it!!!!!!!!". Exercise has very rejuvinating and cleansing properties for your body and mind. It relieves the psychological stress. Pushing yourself and exercising intensely every once in a while makes you feel great.

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The key is to exercise moderately. You do not want to exercise to the point of exhaustion, like heavy weight lifting. This is called overtraining and will increase cortisol levels, a catabolic stress hormone, which will impair your immune system.

The best advice I've heard is to exercise hard enough so it's difficult to carry on a conversation with someone next to you, but you still have enough breath and energy to talk a bit.

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I workout often and I don't see any negative reaction to my skin anymore like i use to. For me it came down to the dealing with the stress in the right way.

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Well I workout every single day sometimes every other day though because my arms and chest hurt but when I do ... it's situps and push-ups and gets heavy not in a way I can have conversation with someone but this is what i'll do anyways whether it's good or bad and I do believe it helps me a lot with my acne because one time I didn't work out for a whole week and face wasn't so good and all.

i'm out

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DOn't work out everyday, you won't make as good gains that way. Rest is just as important as the workout and far more important when taken with the right diet.

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Yes I THINK IT'S SWEAT!!! I just posted this on another thread. I once worked in a fast-food kitchen, it was boiling in there! I'd work weekends next to a pizza oven, and sweat the entire time. I even had to wear a hat (and I was so scared about it causing breakouts on my forehead). Then, one day out of no where I looked in the mirror and smiled. I did not have one pimple AND my red spots were completely gone! It was great-- I finally saw my skin clear. I didn't even take notice that my skin was clearing. I'd say it cleared over 3 weeks cause that was how long I was in the kitchen till I realized it. I left the job for college, and the acne came back-- big time. And I haven't been clear since. Since then I've been on accutane, pro-activ, everything... and nothing's working so I think I'm going to get my lazy butt to work out.

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Guest Amy Lee

Well, maybe because execise delivers needed oxygen to skin cells, that's why after a sweaty activity, we notice a little improvement and a little glow on our skins.

Or that sweating removes toxins through eliminating excess water through the pores?

I don;t exactly how and why, but it definitely helps.

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Guest WhyGOD111
I've seen people recommend more excercise to help clear acne, and after doing a forum search, I couldn't come up with much that pointed to why this is always recommended.  Granted, everyone needs to exercise for better health anyway, and any excuse to do so I'll take, but I'd like the specifics on why this may help some people with their acne.  I'm going to begin exercising more, although it's going to be tough since I wake up at 4:30 am to work, and am pretty exhausted when I get off, but we'll see where this takes me.  Increased exercise could also help my recent bouts of insomnia.

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I've seen people recommend more excercise to help clear acne, and after doing a forum search, I couldn't come up with much that pointed to why this is always recommended.  Granted, everyone needs to exercise for better health anyway, and any excuse to do so I'll take, but I'd like the specifics on why this may help some people with their acne.  I'm going to begin exercising more, although it's going to be tough since I wake up at 4:30 am to work, and am pretty exhausted when I get off, but we'll see where this takes me.  Increased exercise could also help my recent bouts of insomnia.

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