Whether you’re managing an inflammatory skin condition or want to fend off fine lines and wrinkles, changing your state of mind can help.
In recent years, mindfulness has taken off as a way to reduce stress and boost happiness. The practice may play into your skin health, too. “The biggest beauty thief and ager of all time is the stress our minds try to endure day in and day out,” says by a board-certified dermatologist.
That can affect skin in a variety of ways. “Many adults can’t seem to outgrow acne because of stress hormones. Yet most people don’t make the connection. If there’s simply too much going on in [patients’] lives, odds are it’s stress acne,” The common thread is the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), a hormone involved in the stress response, which is linked to inflammatory conditions, and may play a role in the development of acne, according to past research.
Stress can also play a role in speeding signs of aging like lines and wrinkles. “When you live in a chronic state of stress, routinely bathing your body in cortisol, it becomes harder and harder for the skin to repair itself naturally, continue to form healthy collagen and elastin, and deal with damaged areas,”.
What’s more, if you’re already dealing with a skin condition, stress can make controlling your symptoms more difficult. “There are a lot of inflammatory skin conditions made worse by stress, including psoriasis, eczema, and acne,” says by a dermatologist who practices integrative medicine.
How to Use Mindfulness at Home to Support Your Skin
Stress can feel like this insidious beast that’s difficult to overcome, but some small daily strategies — in this case mindfulness — can help you more effectively deal with it. “Stress management is something I talk a lot about with most of my patients because it ties into the overall inflammatory picture, and can lead to flares of symptoms,”.
Start with the breath. Follow a 4-7-8 breathing pattern: Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and then slowly exhale for a count of 8. “This is something that can be done in a grocery store, at a red light, or in the middle of a heated conversation,” she says.
Take a time-out. Sometimes you need a minute. Pause and take 10 deep breaths. Count them. “This can help shift your perspective, the energy in a conversation, or your experience in the moment,” And if you don’t have the opportunity for 10, try three breaths.
Body-scan at bedtime. This technique involves bringing your attention to different body parts, moving from head to toe. It’s a great one to do before bed to help usher you into sleep.
Notice the moment. Whenever you’re doing something enjoyable, like taking a walk with your dog, sitting outside, or taking a warm shower.
Take 10. Alone time is a must. Find a comfortable, quiet spot to sit for 10 to 15 minutes every day, stop all your hustling and bustling, and simply be by yourself and be still. Likening the outcome to a full-body sigh.