There are moments when stress takes over all aspects of life, both personal and professional. The to-do list feels neverending; there are never enough hours in the day; and the challenges appear insurmountable. Feeling stressed is a normal response to demands encountered on emotional, intellectual and physical levels, and often manifests itself physically in many different ways - especially in the appearance of skin. Positively managing stress is essential to achieving a balanced lifestyle and naturally healthy-looking skin.
According to a study by Simple skincare, by focusing on different lifestyle choices that can impact skin like diet, fitness and stress management, women can look beyond their typical skincare routine for ways to improve their skin's health and overall well-being. Women can embody the holistic approach to skincare in every way possible, which is why, when it comes to ingredients what is left out is just as important as what is put in.
Dr. Josie Howard, a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in psychodermatology who participated in the study. Psychodermatology is an area of medicine that focuses on the relationship between stress, emotional well-being and skin health. Dr. Howard offers the following tips for effectively and constructively managing stress to help minimize the effects it can have on your skin.
* Take a breather: Resting your body and mind is crucial to regulating blood flow and circulation, both of which are essential in achieving naturally healthy-looking skin. When you feel unusually anxious and stressed out, it may be a sign of exhaustion or fatigue. Find a calm and quiet space and take a few moments to "take a breather," by meditating, napping or even just pausing from the busy day. Allowing both body and mind to take a break will keep your body feeling more regulated and your skin looking beautiful. Closing your eyes and focusing on the sounds and smells that surround you in that moment is a great way to center yourself in the present; a scented candle and soft music can be of great assistance with this exercise.
* Create a relaxation routine: Stress has a big influence on the health and appearance of skin and can show itself in many ways. When you are stressed, hormones in the body become thrown off balance. As a result, your skin's ability to protect itself against environmental pollutants and irritants becomes compromised, leaving the skin more prone to breakouts, irritation and dehydration. There are many ways to create a sense of calm when things become stressful - listening to music, writing in a journal, or practicing yoga are great ways to constructively unwind. The trick is to pick an activity that works best for you and be sure to proactively make that practice a priority every day to effectively combat stress and improve your overall skin health.
* Say it with a smile: Any level of emotional stress we experience can readily be detected on our face, whether it is seen through breakouts, irritation and even blushing. When we smile, we not only look better, less tired and more refreshed, but our brains also interpret this as a signal that we actually are feeling happy and content. Moreover, smiling can help others react to us in a more positive way, which can lead to less stressful experiences overall.
* Take adequate rest: The notion of "beauty sleep" is not a myth: deep, restorative sleep is essential for growth hormone release, which is necessary for effective tissue repair in the skin. Stress can impair sleep quality, leading to a cascade of hormonal consequences that result in unwanted physical results - unhealthy food choices, weight gain and puffy skin. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can leave skin looking pale and haggard, reducing its natural protective qualities. Dr. Howard advises removing electronics (even smartphones!) from the bedroom to keep stress triggers at bay and to step away from the computer and other electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.