Brooke Ence is a CrossFit athlete and actress, best-known for playing Penthiselea in the DC universe movies. She’s partnered as a top athlete with Athia Skin Care, and is passionate about keeping her skin healthy while undergoing intense exercise. She shared how others who live healthy lives can maintain healthy skin.
What does skin health mean to you? Why is it important?
Most people don’t know this, but our skin is the largest organ of our body. It works as a barrier, protecting against water loss, as well as physical and chemical injury. It helps us fight off bugs, allergens, toxins, and carcinogens via the parts of our immune system that exist in our skin.
It regulates our temperature by dilating and constricting our blood vessels near the skin surface, controlling the transfer of heat out of the body.
Our skin also protects us from UV radiation by producing melanin. It gives us the sense of touch, providing interaction with physical surroundings. It also produces Vitamin D, which helps prevent many diseases including osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and neurological diseases. Wound healing.
Our skin is also a large part of beauty and physical attraction and perception of overall health. As an active and athletic person, I tend to put my skin through lots of different environments: sun, ocean, cold, and lots of sweating. It is important to me to take care of it the best that I can. I (and my team) have sought out formulations and created products to do just that.
Can you talk a little bit about your mission to help all women feel beautiful?
My mission, and our mission at Athia, is to not only help all women feel beautiful, but to also tap into their inner strength and the unique things that make them beautiful.
Throughout my career, it has become pretty apparent that the standard of “beauty” is pretty skewed. There seems to be such a narrow view of what’s “beautiful” as seen in social media or the entertainment industry. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, and capabilities.
I truly don’t believe that “beauty” is an external trait. It sounds so cliche, but beauty comes from within. Regardless of someone’s physical characteristics, it is beautiful to be brave, it is beautiful to set goals and crush them, it is beautiful to be compassionate, it is beautiful to love yourself and everything about you, and it is beautiful to fight for what you believe in. I could go on and on and on, but you get what I’m saying.
Our goal at Athia is not to make “beauty products,” but products that people can use while they go out and live their lives in the most beautiful way possible, no matter what that might look like.
How often do you moisturize your skin in the winter? How has this benefited your skin?
At least twice a day, especially when I am in Utah or a dry climate. The cold weather and the changing of seasons can be really hard on my skin. I get red and chapped and kind of flaky.
When the temperature and humidity drop, it draws moisture out of the skin quickly. I have found that using our hyaluronic moisturizer while my skin is still a little damp helps trap moisture into my face for longer. I also have a humidifier in my room at night to help with the dry air when the heat is on.
I think keeping my face moisturized helps the texture, color, and overall health and appearance of my skin, which makes it more resistant to the effects of the cold. I also try to drink a ton of water so that I stay hydrated.
How do you prioritize your skin health before and after workouts?
One of the things I make a priority prior to working out is to be sure that I don’t have any makeup on (unless I am shooting video or taking pictures). Having makeup on just isn’t my thing when I’m training. I train pretty hard and I sweat a lot, so I like my face to be clean and free from junk.
After training, I immediately use the Athia post-workout spray. It has ingredients that are soothing, reduce redness, and help fight any bacteria you may have on your face, which is really important if you aren’t able to go shower right after. It is also just so refreshing — it helps me not look like a tomato after a hard training session.
Being sure that I cleanse my face after the gym has become especially important to me ever since I got MRSA. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that is found all over the place, but I think I got it using shared equipment. I got this little red bump that looked like a pimple on my forehead, but it kept getting worse. So I went to the dermatologist and he gave me a special antibiotic cream. It took forever to go away and could have left a bad scar had I not gotten it treated quickly. So my advice is to wash your hands and use the post-workout spray!
What are common skin concerns for people who lead active lives?
I think one of the most common skin concerns for people who lead an active lifestyle is sun exposure. Especially for people who do any kind of outdoor sports or training. Being in the sun, although one of my favorite places to be, is so hard on our skin, so having a really good SPF is key.
I like our SPF because it isn’t greasy. It goes on matte and is easy to apply before makeup. Our formula is also a moisturizer. It’s gentle enough for the face, but I use it on the top of my hands, too. Of course, skin cancer is a real concern, but so is aging.
The effect of the sun on our delicate skin over time can cause wrinkles, dark spots, and freckles. I did a scan once that showed all of the underlying sun damage that I already had to my face. After that, I became obsessed with SPF and putting it on daily.
What products are most important for the skin health of people who have active lifestyles?
Well, I think that totally depends on the individual, their priorities, and the types of activities they are doing. I think a good rule is always SPF. The next is a great moisturizer that creates a barrier against the elements to which their skin is being exposed.
Products that encourage cellular health and turnover are a key component for prevention of fine lines and premature aging. Those products would include ingredients like lactic acid (a gentle exfoliant that increases cell turnover), Retinol (a type of vitamin A that increases cell renewal and the production of collagen), and vitamin C, which brightens skin and reduces the appearance of dark spots. Those are just a few off the top of my head.
Athia has done a fantastic job creating products that incorporate all of those ingredients and more for both men and women.