By Gilbert Kidimu
It's hardly news that exercise is essential for the heart, lungs, and mental state. But there's another exciting reason to get moving.
It clears the skin of pimples. Regular exercise is the newfound key to healthy skin, precisely, a pimple free face. Thing is pimples can turn the prettiest face into something no one wants to look at.
As such, there are thousands of crèmes promising a pimple-free skin that women and some men will go to the greatest lengths to obtain to better the look on their blemished faces.
Let’s face it, pimples do not necessarily boost one’s self esteem, so pity the pimple-ridden adolescent girls, the most image-conscious people on the planet. But worry no more, for I come bearing good news.
Hanna Alinda’s experience puts this phenomenon in perspective. As soon as she got an office job after completing university, she started gaining unnecessary weight and with the extra kilograms came extra pimples.
“I thus resolved to start going to the gym so as to reduce my increasing weight and tone by body. But I got what I had not bargained for. While I had lost only half a kilogram after about four weeks, my skin was clear of pimples. Free of cosmetics, it was looking healthier than ever. Prior to this, I had stopped eating margarine and other saturated fats but to no avail.”
"We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant," says dermatologist Allan Kintu
He reveals that by increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. "Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin," he explains. “In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells, hence reducing the likelihood of pimple breakouts.”
Kintu explains that exercise can reduce pimples by lowering stress, which subsequently lower acne levels. “Acne flare-ups often occur as a result from increased levels of cortisol in your blood. Cortisol can trigger your oil glands to go into overproduction, resulting in more pimples.”
“During exercise, bring a towel and pat the sweat, don't wipe. Wiping can irritate your skin. If you can't wash immediately after working out, pat the sweat off with a clean towel. This will help keep the bacteria from causing pimples.”
He further recommends getting an adequate amount of sleep (at least 8 hours a day) which speeds up the healing process in which your skin repairs itself. Every day drink at least 8 glasses of pure water.
Don’t let the tables turn
While exercise can have a positive impact on your skin by reducing pimples, the reverse can be true should you have poor hygiene habits in and after physical exercise. Kintu says touching the various pieces of gym exercise equipment and then touching your skin spreads bacteria and clogs pores.
But he cautions women against wearing make-up while they sweat. “It will trap oil and sweat in your pores causing blockages and ultimately acne.”
Remove it using makeup remover before going to the gym or bed. Never go to bed with makeup on. Wash your face, preferably with warm water and soap.
“The sweat you excrete during exercise can also cause acne, specifically if it's absorbed by your workout clothes and left to sit on your skin.” Not showering after a session will not only leave you reeking, it will leave your skin warm, moist and ideal for bacteria.
While many Ugandan exercise lovers love to take a jog, the main danger if you exercise outdoors is sun exposure.
Sunburns, Kintu says increase skin cancer risk and rapidly age the skin, erasing any benefits your skin might get from exercise. The best advice is to avoid exercising outside during peak sun time, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Home remedies for pimples
• Yogurt (Make sure it's plain - no flavours, not even vanilla. Apply as mask)
• Pure, fresh honey (apply as a mask alone or with something)
• Lemon juice (soak a cotton ball in some freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply to your face and allow it to dry. Or add a few drops of it to something like honey and make a mask of it). This can help with acne, and help fade scars.
• Fresh tomatoes (rub a slice all over the affected areas, mash it up to create a mask, or mix it with another helpful ingredient to make a mask).
• Aloe Vera (either gel, or straight from the plant. Apply to all over the affected areas and let dry. You could also mix it with other ingredients such as honey and or lemon juice to create a mask).
Choose between passing air and pimples
How can one fight pimples?
Eat yourself out of pimples in 30 days