Is Sweating Actually Good for Your Skin? We Asked a Dermatologist



When I opted last year to try a month's worth of infrared sauna sessions, the thought occurred to me just after a handful of treatments: What the hell was going on with my skin? I mean this in only the positive sense—somehow, lying in a pool of my own sweat for an hour twice a week had magically given way to a clear, dewy glow. And even though a better complexion had already been relayed to me as one of the benefits of the infrared sauna, it was no less miraculous to me that I could experience such a beautiful side effect of something so undeniably gross.

But it's also kind of the anomaly of working out, right? While we're instructed (and rightfully so) to cleanse any residual grime from our faces after breaking a sweat to avoid any breakouts, our skin looks undeniably better when we exercise consistently. So is it the act of sweating in and of itself that leads to a bright, younger-looking complexion, or is it something else? To find out, we deferred to dermatologist Whitney Bowe—and it turns out there's some really fascinating science behind this phenomenon. (Spoiler: Fitness really is the fountain of youth.)