Stress is a part of all our lives at some point and its effects on our bodies can be felt and seen— especially with our skin. When our skin starts to act a bit finicky we typically blame a product or a routine without even giving one thought to our environment. Our work environment, home environment (which may be blurred together these days) and even our relationships can have effects on our skin. Tight deadlines and difficult conversations can have your skin in a tizzy not to mention that sometimes when we’re stressed, we may not be making the best nutrition and wellness choices. So, slow down and take a moment to integrate some mindfulness into your day and your skincare routine.
Mindfulness and your skin
When our bodies are stressed, we produce a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps you deal with stress and in small amounts is a helpful, adaptive reflex but increased levels of cortisol cause your skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more oil which can clog pores and lead to acne. The effects of prolonged increased cortisol levels may accelerate aging by stimulating the degradation of collagen. Stress can also exacerbate other skin conditions, slow digestion and even alter the gut microbiome.
Mindfulness isn’t just a trendy buzzword— it’s been shown to be beneficial for your health and mental wellbeing, and studies show that it can reduce cortisol levels in the blood. There are many ways to practice mindfulness including various meditation and relaxation techniques that can help you be more present. Read on for a few techniques you can integrate into your daily routine for clearer skin and a calmer mind.
Putting it into practice
Nothing can kill a mindful moment faster than an incoming text or a ringing phone. Work to create a space that isn’t filled with distractions by turning off push notifications that are unnecessary, playing relaxing music, inundating your space with scent or anything else you feel helps draw you into the present moment.
Your face to be exact. Slowing down your nightly skin care routine can bring you to the present moment and help you notice the smells and sensations of your routine. Try a calming facial serum paired with a Gua Sha for a relaxing facial massage or give your entire body a rubdown with a luscious oil or body bar.
We know you’re literally breathing right now but are you aware of your breath? Is your breathing fast or slow, deep or shallow? Breathing is an autonomic physiological response, so we aren’t typically aware that we are doing it. Take a moment before you begin your skin care routine and notice your breathing and your body position. You may find that your shoulders are tense or that you’ve been unknowingly clenching your teeth. Take a few long deep belly breaths, turn off the phone and let your skin ritual begin.