What are the benefits to skin of embracing the great outdoors? And those who follow me on Instagram know that I am a big advocate of a 360 approach to skin well being – with exercise being a large part of the journey towards improved skin tone and condition.
The main benefit to the skin of heading to the countryside – particularly in mountain and hill hiking – is that your skin is exposed to less pollution than you will find lower down – particularly in cities. When lower down, the higher pollution levels increase free radical activity which ages the skin. We also breathe in contaminated air, putting our lungs and ‘detoxification’ pathways under additional pressure as our body tries to clarify the skin. I am also a great believer of the role stress plays in the condition of facial skin in terms of accelerating ageing and triggering acne. So, I do believe there is definitely the added benefit that hill walking brings with the mind being soothed by the clearer, calmer environment as it lowers anxiety levels. My motto is clearer air means a calmer mind – which equals fewer breakouts!
And whilst it is cold outside, there are many benefits to be gained from putting on a thick coat, a woolly hat and mittens and heading outdoors – even if you are in a city . But before you close your front door…do just take a moment to consider the right protection for your skin.
The first key point to consider is that extreme weather conditions can be quite detrimental to the skin. We all know what ‘weathered skin’ looks like it and I have to say that when I was working in the Cotswolds rather than the city, I could see first-hand the skin damage caused by being outdoors – either riding horses, dog walking or gardening in all weather conditions. Without protection, daily exposure to the elements can prematurely age the skin, deepen lines, increase redness and trigger sensitivity through UV damage, You must apply a high SPF cream (ideally SPF 50 with full spectrum UVA and UVB protection).
The cold wind and rain will dry out the skin, since our outer lipid barrier is compromised. The cold causes redness with the blood capillaries having to constrict and dilate. So, my solution here is to protect the skin properly with nourishing creams (of course with a high UV incorporated) to ensure you are moisturising the skin and helping to minimise fluid loss. And then when you are back down the mountain, be sure to supplement your regime with professional treatments and a tailor-made skincare routine that takes into account your additional skin nourishing needs.
When it comes to taking your workout outdoors, my overall recommendation for your health and wellbeing is to give it a try and make it part of your new year’s resolution for January and beyond. However, do make sure that you don’t overdo it – fresh air wins hands down but make sure, especially if you have sensitive skin or rosacea, that you are fully protected.
So, put on your trainers – and your nourishing UV moisturiser – and get outdoors!