As you've learned in the preceding chapters, if you suffer from acne--whether an occasional breakout or chronic, progressive lesions eliminating it is a multilayered task. One must treat the entire body. Everyone knows that moderate exercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle, and this is especially true for the acne patient. We do well to listen to good old-fashioned common sense: moderation is key.
The Perricone Program recommends blending three distinct types of exercise:
- Weight resistance
But acne is unique-much of what might be considered beauty- and health-promoting activities for people without acne can spell disaster for those with acne. Even worse, certain forms of exercise can actually cause or exacerbate acne. Let's take a look at these statements and evaluate them.
Like me, many of my patients, both male and female, practice weight training and/or weight lifting. I first began weight lifting when I was in my teens, and I loved the positive effects it had on my strength and appearance. This motivated me to add a good cardiovascular workout to my exercise routine, and so I began running.
The physical results were great. I became stronger and healthier; my endurance and stamina increased with each passing day. But all was not good news. My newfound fitness and robust, healthy appearance were restricted to my body only. My complexion was another story. I was loath to admit it, but the weight lifting actually made my acne worse. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact of life among bodybuilders and weight lifters, regardless of gender, that this type of exercise makes the body much more susceptible to acne breakouts. The reason is simple: weight lifting and weight training increases levels of male hormones, such as testosterone. As we learned in Chapter 3, male hormones can contribute to acne.
I should mention flexibility here, too. Cardiovascular aerobic exercises and weight training or weight lifting offer many important benefits to the body, but none of these types of exercises increase flexibility. This is important because as we age our flexibility decreases dramatically. If you doubt this, just spend a few moments watching a child or teenager play, dance, participate in sports, and so on. You'll notice their ease of motion, quickness of response, physical fluidity.
So how can one attain a fit, toned, and flexible body as well as clear, radiant skin at any age? Yoga.
In my opinion, the benefits of yoga are unparalleled. Yoga is unique in that it addresses the entire person.
- It exercises and tones the body.
- It energizes and soothes the mind.
- It helps the practitioner to achieve a deeply meditative state.
Because acne is aggravated by stress, meditation or some form of effective relaxation is necessary to lower stress levels. Yoga provides just that; it is a superior form of meditation. But yoga is not a passive meditation. A twenty-minute yoga session will leave you completely relaxed, physically invigorated, and enjoying a strong sense of well-being. It is the perfect exercise for people who lead busy, stress-filled lives who want to look and feel their best.
To really showcase the many benefits of yoga I went to the experts. Trisha Lamb Feuerstein of the International Association of Yoga Therapists has kindly given me permission to reprint the Health Benefits of Yoga that appears on their excellent and informative website at International Association of Yoga Therapists.
The foregoing is excerpted from The Acne Prescription by Nicholas Perricone, M.D. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
For more information about Dr. Perricone's science and breakthroughs, visit N.V. Perricone, M.D. Cosmeceuticals.