As the summer heat intensifies and our deodorant sticks shrink, it makes sense to wonder, “Is sweating good for your skin?” The short answer is yes, sweating can be good for you — but it can also harm your skin if you’re not careful.
How is sweating good for your skin? According to a January 2016 article published in the journal Shock, there’s a little antimicrobial peptide called dermcidin in your sweat. Experts believe this plays a crucial role in killing any nasty microbes that are hanging out on your face. Think of dermcidin as a natural antibiotic.
It makes a lot of sense that sweating is good for you — it’s a natural bodily function, after all. However, even though sweat is good at keeping bad bacteria out, it’s a myth that sweating flushes out toxins. A February 2018 study published in the journal Environment International found that the amount of environmental pollutants the body excretes through sweating is too minuscule to matter.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the benefits of sweating, let’s cover a few of the potential risks. Apparently, letting sweat stay on your face for an excessive amount of time can cause problems. “If sweat sits on the skin too long, it can irritate the skin,” Whitney Bowe, MD, told Byrdie. “Specifically, the ammonia and urea in sweat can cause irritation and inflammation if left on skin too long. The sodium in sweat can dehydrate skin if left too long on the surface, and the evaporation of sweat from skin can aggravate people prone to eczema.”
The simple solution here would be to wash your face after sweating. You can achieve clean skin simply by wiping away sweat with a refreshing face wipe ($7.40, Amazon) — you don’t need to go through a multi-step skin-care routine. Finish with a face spray ($7, Amazon) and you’ll feel like a brand-new, non-sweaty woman. Live long and perspire!