It’s that time of year here in Montana, when the trees are changing, the mornings are crisp, and the best days of the year are right in front of us. The trails are calling, and many who live in the Rocky Mountain West are geared up to maximize their favorite outdoor physical pursuits before winter sets in. So, it’s also a good time of year to take up the topic of skin care for active lifestyles. The proven benefits of regular exercise are nearly endless, but whether you’re a casual hiker or marathon runner, taking up tennis or trying mountain biking, the quest for fitness can take a toll on your skin, especially when coupled with arid, sunny days.
Keeping skin healthy isn’t just about beauty, it affects whole-body wellness. So, while you’re getting your blood pumping, make sure to take care of that so often forgotten organ, and give your skin the same care you’re giving your heart, lungs, and brain in your journey to stay active and healthy.
Much of our modern culture considers skin only through a cosmetic narrative. But skin is first and foremost our bodies’ largest organ and initial defense against the environment. Keeping skin healthy isn’t just about beauty, it affects whole-body wellness. So, while you’re getting your blood pumping, make sure to take care of that so often forgotten organ, and give your skin the same care you’re giving your heart, lungs, and brain in your journey to stay active and healthy. To do this, keep in mind these three words while you’re lacing up your kicks: hydrate, protect, balance. Then get moving.
Whether you prefer physical activities within gym walls or under blue skies, hydrating your skin from both inside and out is vital. Exercising for an hour can cost your body as much as seventeen ounces of water through sweat. And, while we love the benefits of a good sweat, it’s critical to put that water back in your body. Drinking water before, during and after your activity is key to avoiding the dangers of dehydration. When bodies become even mildly dehydrated, vital organs take priority, so the skin’s collagen is some of the first cells to stop receiving moisture. As a result, skin becomes dry, ashy and flaky. Over time, that dryness contributes to wrinkles. While there’s no scientifically prescribed amount of water a person should drink daily (everybody requires different levels of hydration), studies have shown over and over that it’s critical to balance exercise with more water intake. You might consider adding some aloe vera juice to your water regimen for a boost of nutrients and extra water absorption.
Hydration from within is essential for supple skin, but supplementing that hydration with a high-quality moisturizer will help maximize your skins dewy glow.
Hydration from within is essential for supple skin, but supplementing that hydration with a high-quality moisturizer will help maximize your skins dewy glow. Finding the right moisturizer for your face and body depends on your specific skin needs, but if you have the dry skin that tends to follow regular physical exertion, the collagen-building nutrients in Sageborn’s Anti-Aging Carrot Seed Facial Moisturizer can help lock in much-needed hydration. And many professional athletes turn to the ultra-nourishing fatty acids and natural inflammatory properties of shea butter for their skin.
The need for skin hydration often goes hand in hand with the need for sun protection. When your activity of choice is outdoors, the environment can add another level of stress to your skin. Pursuits on the water (and snow in the winter months) give the sun an opportunity for a second punch to the skin, reflecting rays from below. Add a windy day, and your skin will be stripped of moisture and prone to burn before you even hit the turn-around point on the trail.
Try exercising early or late in the day to avoid the sun and heat, and wear protective clothing designed to shield harmful rays.
If you exercise outside, sunscreen is crucial. Wear it. It’s just that simple. At least SPF 30, waterproof is best when sweating, and remember to reapply. What’s not so simple is that, for a lot of people who exercise outdoors, sunscreen can feel like a pore-clogging, sweat-stopping weight on the skin. To help alleviate this, try exercising early or late in the day to avoid the sun and heat, and wear protective clothing designed to shield harmful rays.
After a workout, a hot shower will help open your pores, clearing your skin of sweat and sunscreen residue, and will ready your skin to retain the moisturizing treatment of your choice. Showering after a workout with a gentle cleanser also rinses away the breakout-causing bacteria that can breed in sweat. And keep in mind that treating those sore muscles with anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen can increase your risk for sunburn. A natural alternative for pain relief is arnica, used for centuries to help soothe aches and inflammation.
Take up a new sport, sign up for that race or go on a long walk with a friend. In whatever way you choose, move your way to a healthy glow, but be kind to your body while you’re at it.
Get out and get moving. Take up a new sport, sign up for that race or go on a long walk with a friend. In whatever way you choose, move your way to a healthy glow, but be kind to your body while you’re at it. If your skin is raw and your muscles are so sore you can’t reach the top shelf of the pantry, you’re less likely to get back out there. The importance of balancing activity with recovery and self-care will help keep you active in the long-run (pun intended). So, in addition to hydrating and protecting the skin, consider the many benefits of deep tissue massage, or try an Epsom salt bath to reduce sore muscles and swelling. Couple that long soak with a detoxifying masque and your skin, muscles, and spirit will be ready for tomorrow’s adventure.
We’ll see you out there.