Yoga is one of the fastest-growing health trends in America. A whopping 20.4 million people in the U.S. reported practicing yoga in 2015, and it is believed the numbers will continue to grow for at least a few more years.
But is yoga actually good for your skin? Here, we uncover some good, bad, and ugly truths:
1.) Better Blood Flow = Good for skin.
First, the good.
Yoga increases the circulation throughout the body, as proven in a 1993 study. In the study, three yoga instructors were found to have an increase in mean body skin temperature after 3 months of practice than non-practicing individuals (Physiological Changes, 1993). This results in increased oxygen delivery to the skin, ensuring that the skin’s keratinocytes and melanocytes are functioning optimally.
2.) Anti-inflammatory = Good for skin.
It is true that acne is caused by a bacterial species, P. acnes. However, yoga can help combat bacteria by improving cellular function (and hence defense), reduce inflammation-inducing cortisol release from the adrenal glands, and increase levels of the “relaxing” brain neurotransmitter GABA (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2007).
Altogether, these functions may cause the regular practice of yoga to reduce stress, inflammation, and hence flare-ups of acne over time.
3.) Hot yoga = Ugly for skin.
According to several case studies, including one from the July 2010 Journal of Family Practice, yoga may cause rosacea to become worse in some individuals. Symptoms include persistent redness, flushing, papules, pustules, telangiectasias, irritation, or some combination therein.
It has been advised that patients with moderate to severe symptoms of rosacea avoid hot yoga altogether (Journal of Family Practice, 2010). Given the fact that 78% of patients with rosacea reported in a recent study to have better control of symptoms when avoiding external heat, spicy food, and UV light, this comes as no surprise, although it is probably something of a disappointment to those yogis suffering with rosacea.
4.) Can clog the pores = Ugly.
Like any other form of exercise, yoga causes the release of sweat and sebum, which in combination can clog the pores and create a bacteria-friendly environment. This is made even worse whenever you wear makeup to work out, as the evaporation of sweat is blocked altogether, leading directly to breakouts.
You need to make sure that you cleanse your face, neck, body, and mat after each and every session. Recent studies even show that the gym may be a breeding grounds for MRSA (Journal of Infection Control), so you want to be sure you protect yourself with a cleansing ritual. I recommend AminoGenesis Really, Really Clean Cleanser for before and after each and every session!
Research shows that non-hot yoga is beneficial for your skin, so long as you wash your face before and after each workout.