Preliminary research by scientists at Ontario’s McMaster University shows that exercise not only keeps skin looking younger, but also enhances skin health at a microscopic level.
One experiment analyzed the skin of 29 men and women ranging in age from 20 to 84. When researchers sorted skin samples based on exercise habits, they found that people over 40 who exercised frequently had skin comparable to that of people half their age.
In another experiment, researchers put sedentary volunteers, age 65 and older, on a three-month exercise program requiring them to jog or bicycle twice weekly at a moderately strenuous pace. Before-and-after biopsies showed that the condition of their skin improved over the course of the program.
According to a New York Times article on the findings, the mechanism behind the skin-composition improvements is not completely clear. But researchers suspect that multiple myokines — substances created by working muscles — play a role, making it unlikely that a pill, salve, or injection will ever replicate the skin benefits of a good workout.