By Valerie Bevilacqua
Heat’s a triple threat. It can burn fat, melt potential illness, and raise heart health. But, did you know it can make skin clearer – and cleaner? I’m living proof of this. After years of practicing hot yoga, sitting in saunas and taking hot showers, I’ve noticed a significant difference in my skin’s appearance. The key is perspiration.
“The job of sweating is to regulate body temperature,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), D.A.B.D., dermatologist and founder of DLK on Avenue in Toronto. “Sweating through heat will increase blood flow to the skin, so blood vessels will dilate, which gives skin a glowing appearance.”
Take hot yoga for example. Bikram yoga, the most challenging form of hot yoga, repeats 26 postures and takes place in a room typically set from 105 to 110 F. This type of hot yoga especially has been claimed to prove that through perspiration caused by heat, sweating opens and detoxifies the pores, permitting natural lanolin to penetrate through the pores and thereby attain skin’s firmness. The cardiovascular endurance of Bikram yoga contributes to progressive blood circulation, also releasing the toxins experienced daily through air, food, water, etc. – all thereby making skin look younger, smoother, and more radiant.
While it’s vital to consume water before, during, and after a hot yoga or sauna session, icy water combined with hot exercise may also aid in the balance of temperature. “The skin is the largest organ in the body,” Dr. Kellett explains. “In the case of heat exposure, it is (specifically) the skin’s job to help with temperature regulation.” While heat should be utilized in moderation for safety precautions, certain levels of excessive heat are required to produce the utmost ideal benefits – depending on each individual’s situation, of course.
When the body starts to accumulate perspiration via intense sweating, the skin is then purified of contamination and dead skin cells are substituted. Perspiration, in a sense, “washes” away bacteria out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts. Cleansing the pores has been demonstrated to increase the capillary circulation’s advantages, while constructing softer-looking skin.
Furthermore, perspiration acts like a passage of liquid that wipes out skin cells with nutrients, permeating the proximities around the cells and tightening wrinkly epidermis. The nutrients and minerals in sweat render imperative to preserving the collagen structure of the skin. Sweating on a consistent basis delays collagen breakdown that can lead to wrinkles and saggy skin.
If you prefer a cleaner way of cleansing your skin using heat, opt for a steam shower. Steam propels heightened perspiration, which can lift hidden dirt, dead skin cells and surface bacteria off the upper dermal layers where it can eliminated efficiently. The effects of usual steam showers have been recognized in permanently spotless skin with no evidence of blackheads, pimples and congestion bumps in sight.
Whether you decide to feel the burn in a hot yoga room, sauna, steam room, steam shower – or even just on the treadmill – remember to fuel properly and reap in the benefits.