How can exercise impact my skin health?

Since May 2019, global tennis superstar Rafa Nadal has been working with Cantabria Labs to promote a healthy, active lifestyle – with the help of Heliocare’s expert sun protection advice and solutions. A native of Majorca and a lifelong athlete, Nadal knows too well the toll that exercising outside can take on your skin:

“I’ve spent my fair share of time outdoors and hope to keep doing so. But my dermatologist made me take a good, hard look at my lifestyle and now I want to do better and include some healthy habits into my daily routines.”

With the resulting campaign, Give Your All for What Matters, Never to the Sun, Nadal has spent the last few years raising awareness about the dangers of sun damage and to showing how the Heliocare range, with its exclusive Fernblock extract, can help.

“I already used sunscreen, but with sweating, not reapplying, and the length of the matches, I now know it wasn’t enough.”

By combining sun protection measures, like Rafa does with Heliocare sunscreen and oral capsules, you boost your defences against harmful radiation from the sun. And by taking simple steps, you can enjoy exercising outdoors just like he does (ok, maybe not EXACTLY like he does, but you get the idea).

Because exercise is great for your body, your mind and your skin.

How exercise benefits your skin

Improve your circulation

Cardio supports good circulation, as blood carries oxygen and nutrients all around the body, including to the skin, and carries away waste cells (like free radicals) – as well as being great for your heart and lungs. And that blood pumping to the surface of your skin will also give you a great short-term glow!

Decrease stress

Exercise is proven to decrease stress – and some researchers believe that sebaceous glands (which produce oil) might be influenced by stress hormones. Destressing is great for your spirit, and possibly your skin as well.

Keep skin looking young

Some studies have shown that exercise can decrease oxidative stress from free radicals that can impact collagen production, leading to skin aging.

Things to watch out for (and what you can do about them)

Protecting your skin from the sun is obviously the most important consideration when exercising outdoors, and there are lots of ways to do that – wearing protective clothing and hats, going out in the morning or early evening to avoid the harshest rays, and of course using sunscreen liberally, supplemented with Heliocare capsules.

People can experience other skin issues resulting from exercise, but with the right approach, they can be avoided.

Chafing and rashes

It’s painful and unsightly and no fun. Avoid chafing by wearing moisture-wicking and loose-fitting workout clothes, and don’t hang around in your sweaty clothes after you finish exercising.


Sweating can cause a build-up of oils and impurities in the skin, so cleansing is key! Always take off your make-up before you start your session, or at least make sure all your products are non-comedogenic and use a clean towel to wipe off sweat.

Skin flare-ups

Certain skin conditions can flare up in response to exercise – when your body gets too hot (rosacea), or when salt from sweat causes irritation (eczema and psoriasis). For all these conditions, consider working out during cooler times of day.

Swimming in cool water can be a great option for rosacea, as are cool compresses applied during and after any exercise. To combat exacerbating eczema and psoriasis, focus on low-intensity exercises and make sure you rinse the sweat off as soon as possible.

The many benefits definitely outweigh any potential short-term issues caused by exercise – so get out there and do it! And take Rafa’s advice – stay protected when you do.


In the article

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