Is Running Bad for Your Skin?

It's been a saviour for many during lockdown but despite its myriad health benefits, running may have a bit of a bad rep when it comes to how pounding the pavements affects our skin. Read on to discover why we should all be pulling on our running shoes and how it can actually boost skin health instead….

So, is running bad for my skin?

Although running in itself isn’t bad for the skin, if you run outdoors it can exacerbate one of main causes of skin ageing, which is UV exposure. How to avoid it? Regular and conscientious application of an SPF of 30 or higher, which should be a given in your routine whether you’re a runner or not.

What about sagging skin?

While it’s true that exercise can pose a threat to your skin’s elasticity over time, contrary to popular belief it’s not because of the impact of your feet hitting the ground. Instead, experts believe that when you do any form of cardio, such as running, you produce more free-radical damage, which in turn breaks or damages the collagen and elastin fibres within the skin. Before you start to worry, the good news is that it’s only really very strenuous and constant exercise that causes skin cell damage, and happily, running is excluded from that.

What about when my skin goes red?

When you run, your blood vessels dilate to release heat, which results in skin that can look red and blotchy. For most people this isn’t a problem in itself and the skin should cool down without any lasting damage, but if you’re prone to rosacea or any kind of inflammatory skin condition, these dilated blood vessels could pose a problem. To negate any damage just ensure you keep a cool flannel or some water you can splash nearby, so that you can cool off your skin if need be.

So, is running good for my skin?

In truth, running is great for the skin. Running improves circulation which helps deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your skin to give it a glow. Increased blood flow also aids cell regeneration and is adept at removing toxins, which means healthier overall skin. Just ensure you layer on the SPF before your run (whether indoors or outdoors but especially if running outside) and then again after you wash and cleanse your skin post-run.