As much as it may suck, stress tends to be a part of our daily lives. And the only thing worse than being burdened by those pressures is the toll they can take on our skin. That is why it’s helpful to know a few ways we can keep stress-induced skin flare-ups under control. To find out some more about why we tend to break out when we’re stressed, and learn some steps we can take to calm our complexions, I emailed with Paula Simpson, a holistic beauty expert and co-founder of ZSS Skincare.
According to Simpson, during times of emotional stress, we “may be more prone to breakouts and aggravated skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.” This, she explains, is because our bodies release hormones to help manage stress, but being under chronic stress can cause a hyperactive state, sometimes resulting in our bodies being out of balance. And with this imbalance comes negative effects of stress on your skin and body. While it’s not always possible to avoid these side effects, if you want to try to mitigate your stress-related breakouts or other skin concerns, here are six steps that Simpson recommends taking:
Nourish Your Gut
According to Simpson, digestion can become sluggish when your body is in a stressed state. However, there are certain strains of probiotics that “have been shown to rebalance and detoxify intestinal microflora that indirectly have a positive effect on skin health,” she says. To help keep your digestion and your skin balanced, Simpson recommends adding live-cultured yogurt, which has anti-inflammatory properties, to help fight breakouts, or miso soup, which is a digestive regulator, to your diet.
Sweat It Out
“Exercise gets your heart beating and your skin sweating, which helps to cleanse toxins from your body,” says Simpson. She recommends trying hot yoga or a sauna or steam-room session as these can help not only calm your nerves but also draw out built-up toxins from the skin.
Simpson notes that it can be difficult to get all of the nutrients that your skin needs to stay healthy and balanced every day. So especially in times of stress, she suggests supplementing your diet and skin care to make sure your skin is receiving all of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to overcome overactive stress hormones.
A buildup of skin debris combined with excess sebum production can congest skin and increase the formation of blackheads and blemishes,” says Simpson. To help fully decongest your skin in times of stress, she recommends exfoliating more often than you might normally.
According to Simpson, just a few minutes of meditation each day can help reduce stress levels, thereby helping your skin stay balanced. Here’s what she says to do: “Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting (out loud or silently) your favorite positive mantra. Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths.”
By employing any combination, or even just one, of these methods, you can help keep not only your stress but also its effects on your skin at bay.