Effect of Exercise-induced Sweating on facial sebum, stratum corneum hydration, and skin surface pH in normal population

Skin Res Technol. 2013 Feb;19(1):e312-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2012.00645.x. Epub 2012 Aug 14.


Background: Evidence demonstrated that sweat was an important factor affecting skin physiological properties.

Aims: We intended to assess the effects of exercise-induced sweating on the sebum, stratum corneum (SC) hydration and skin surface pH of facial skin.

Materials & methods: 102 subjects (aged 5-60, divided into five groups) were enrolled to be measured by a combination device called 'Derma Unit SSC3' in their frontal and zygomatic regions when they were in a resting state (RS), at the beginning of sweating (BS), during excessive sweating (ES) and an hour after sweating (AS), respectively.

Results: Compared to the RS, SC hydration in both regions increased at the BS or during ES, and sebum increased at the BS but lower during ES. Compared to during ES, Sebum increased in AS but lower than RS. Compared to the RS, pH decreased in both regions at the BS in the majority of groups, and increased in frontal region during ES and in zygomatic region in the AS. There was an increase in pH in both regions during ES in the majority of groups compared to the BS, but a decrease in the AS compared to during ES.

Discussion: The study implies that even in summer, after we sweat excessively, lipid products should be applied locally in order to maintain stability of the barrier function of the SC. The study suggests that after a short term(1 h or less) of self adjustment, excessive sweat from moderate exercise will not impair the primary acidic surface pH of the facial skin.

Conclusion: Exercise-induced sweating significantly affected the skin physiological properties of facial region.

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Sebum / metabolism*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Sweating / physiology*
  • Water Loss, Insensible / physiology*
  • Young Adult