Cortisol and the Beauty Benefits of Exercise

DeannaHealth blog


When it comes to good skin, it goes far beyond than just topical applications of creams and serums.  You have to look at yourself as a whole, meaning look at your lifestyle, your diet and everyday habits to see where you can improve to enable yourself to reach maximum results in having healthy, glowing, radiant and younger looking skin. Let’s talk about exercise and skin health.

There are countless reasons to incorporate exercise into our daily routine and lifestyle. Working out not only assists with weight loss and management, exercise also improves your sleep, mental health and helps regulate certain hormones within the body that contribute to better overall health and wellbeing.

For me personally exercise is an essential part of my lifestyle. I exercise to de stress, re- energize and increase my focus and mental endurance, allowing for me to be more productive, more driven and more motivated to achieve my goals.

But did you know that regular exercise also helps to improve your skin and overall complexion? That’s right, yet another reason to get active!

When you get your heart pumping from exercise, you increase blood flow and circulation which helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. By supplying your skin with a good dose of oxygenated blood, it gives the skin that great post workout glow. In addition to this, the increased blood flow helps carry away waste products such as free radicals from working skin cells, by regulating and reducing free radical damage to the skin, you are able to slow down the aging process a little bit.

The human body naturally responds to periods of stress in a variety of ways, some of which can cause some serious unwanted side effects to your skin. You may notice that you have increased acne breakouts, dryness, irritation, or redness during periods of high stress. These symptoms stem from the release of various hormones when the body encounters stress – in particular, the “stress hormone” cortisol.

Working out produces endorphins (the feel good hormone), which works to help decrease and regulate the production of cortisol.

But how exactly does cortisol affect changes in your skin?

Aging: When exposed to stress, cortisol levels in the body rise. Cortisol has the power to accelerate the aging process of the skin by breaking down an essential protein also known as collagen.  Rapidly accelerating common skin aging signs such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and skin dullness, which lets face we are all trying very hard to beat or at least slow down.

Acne: You may notice that during periods of high stress you experience more acne breakouts. High cortisol levels prompt the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (oil). The additional oil clogs the pores leading to the development of inflammation and bacteria– resulting in acne.

Skin Conditions: Beyond acne, stress can also magnify other skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea. Many people who suffer from chronic skin disorders tend to notice that their symptoms flare up when their stress levels are elevated.

So as you can see, an over production of cortisol within the body not only promotes flare ups from existing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, it also increases sebum production resulting in acne.

Bottom line, exercise offers incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out. It’s with exercise that we are able to, to a degree regulate our hormonal levels which improves our health whilst also enabling us to enjoy the benefits of firm, supple, glowing and healthier skin.

So whether you walk, run or regularly go to the gym, physical exercise will inevitably improve your health in many ways, so get active, get fit and start enjoying a more glowing complexion today.