Having skin health issues can be stressful. It can suck. Especially on your face, because your face is out there, right? It's the first thing that people see, and you can end up feeling self-conscious about it. Feeling self-conscious can have a ripple effect through other parts of your life like stress levels, happiness and self-esteem. No one wants that. I think it's safe to say everyone wants to feel happy in their skin. We want that for you too! Part of that process is finding an effective way to care for your skin and treat conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Thankfully if you are reading this page, you're in the right place, as it's something that we specialise. And I know you've heard 1000 times the importance of lifestyle for skin health including diet, drinking enough water, avoid too much alcohol, protect the skin from the sun, get enough, sleep etc. But here is something new. What about your mindset and emotional state of mind when managing your skin health?
Stress is closely linked to our skin health as it reflects what is going on in the inside. So do you ever 'check in' with yourself to see if you have stress building up or negative thought patterns that you need to nip in the bud? In an article recently featured in the special issue of Women's Health and Fitness (WHF) magazine called the Fitness, Face, Body and Skin Bible, they talk about this very topic and the impact of stress on the skin and treatment suggestions. Here are a few key take-outs from the feature:
Mindset And StressStudies have shown that even 'everyday stress' can increase the occurrence of skin problems from small breakouts and inflammation to psoriasis and eczema. Treating skin holistically through complimentary health and wellness practices such as meditation, acupuncture, massage counselling or therapy can help reduce stress. WHF's expert shares "studies show that when people utilise stress reduction techniques, their skin misbehaves less often and less dramatically". When stressed your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol may thicken the hair follicles cells and increase oil production creating perfect conditions for acne. Stress can also activate neuropeptides which are chemicals released from nerve endings in the skin and can make it feel red and itchy. Which in turn produces excess T cells, who fight skin infections causing the skin to turn over too quickly resulting in the flaky or scaly skin.
As an example, WHF's expert suggests people with skin conditions that are sensitive to temperature, imagine themselves swimming through a pool of yoghurt that gently cools the skin. Imagine how it feels. Imagine the redness fading away. The irritation stops and the heat leaving the skin. It might sound crazy, but if you can not only visualise it but imagine the feeling as well, it can have an impact on your skin.
Listening To Relaxing Music
Listening to soothing music is an easy way to reduce stress levels. You can listen to a great selection of calming tunes via digital radio (via radio or online) for free. I love SBS Chill.
Meditation For A Postive Mindset
Switch off the phone, turn off the TV and find yourself a quiet, comfortable place and sit. Quietly. Be Still. Clear your thoughts and breathe deep into your belly, drop your shoulders, and with every breathe start to let go of any stress you are holding on to. Mediation takes practice (who would have thought just sitting, clearing the mind and breathing would take practice?. It has so many excellent health benefits. And it's not just for tree hugging hippies! I aim to do more this year as I find it works wonders - literally. You can find lots of guided meditations online or apps for your phone to get you started. Melissa Ambrosini has a selection of gorgeous reflections.
Self-love can take all different forms, such as being grateful for your body with no judgement. Try to remove negative or self-critical thoughts from your day. If you find yourself thinking something negative, replace it with something positive. When you are going through your skin care routine, take your time, don't rush absentmindedly through it, do it in a loving a caring way. Enjoy all the different textures and heavenly scents from the natural healing ingredients. Take a relaxing bath or a walk in nature. It's all about lifting the spirits.
All the skin products in the world can only do so much if your mindset isn't positive. Starting with a positive mindset is vital in almost all areas of life - relationships, achieving personal goals such as health or career. You know that saying you are what we eat? Likewise, you are what you think. If you are interested in finding out more on this topic pick yourself up a copy of the Women's Health and Fitness Face, Body, Skin Bible 2016 issue. Do you have a practice for managing your stress and maintaining a positive mindset?