Tips to keep your skin naturally glowing, young and acne-free
Stress and how we look go hand in hand. Most of us are all very aware of how connected the mind is to the body and vice versa. The body is the head of our mind.
Well, this is an example - if you say something foolish or silly in front of someone and your thinking is that you feel embarrassed because of this, your face is blushing or flushing. This is a simple cognition of 'I did/say something silly'; - that can cause basically every blood vessels in the skin to instantaneously open up, causing a blush or flush. This is the evidence that emotion has the impact on body's largest organ - skin. It is pretty amazing fact that the mind and body are linked.
I wanted to know how it works? Well, I searched and did my homework - according to the article on Psychology Today that a stressful event; such as losing you job can trigger a cascade of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, that surged through your body, speeding heartbeat and the circulation of blood, mobilising fat and sugar for fast energy, focusing attention, preparing muscles for action, and more. It generally takes sometime for the body to calm down after the stress response has been triggered.
Furthermore, a constant state of anxiety caused levels of adrenaline and cortisol to stay high in the body which considerably harm our facial skin cells because it can interfere with our blood flow patterns. Due to this interference, it can weaken our skin blood vessels, especially our facial. This process leads to ageing. If someone already has problem like acne, proriasis or eczema, stress can make these conditions worse.
The food we put into our body also can determine our mood. It is also well a known fact that skin conditions like acne, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and stress are related, and studies have found that these skin conditions may be related to certain emotional states. But it is not only stress that causes skin problems; anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions too.
Read more about how stress affect you skin.
Having skin problems can be extremely distressing. The stingy, sore and burning sensations from psoriasis, acne or other related skin problems can be very uncomfortable and often lead to low self-esteem or low mood. Unlike hypertension or diabetes or other health problems, skin conditions are often overlooked.
In a 2014 National Rosacea Society survey of 1,675 patients with rosacea (skin condition mainly affect the face where the skin turns red and redness) - 90% of respondents reported lowered self-esteem and self-confidence, 54% reported anxiety and helplessness, and 43% reported depression. More than half said they avoided face-to-face contact.
The APA (American Psychological Association) reports that a relatively new and growing field called psychodermatology aims to understand the relationship between our mental health and skin.
Rick Fried is one of the few U.S clinicians specialising in psychodermatology. In a paper published in 2013 in Seminar in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, Fried reviewed the evidence for nonpharmacological management of psychodermatalogical conditions. Proven interventions are typically used as a complement to traditional dermatological approaches - this includes hypnosis, support groups, biofeedback, meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, CBT and other form of psychotherapy.
So, while some psychologists try to understand and study the relationship between our mental health and skin -- I think we should look to natural ways to keep our skin healthy and glowing.
Stress isn't very uncommon these days, especially with deadlines, exams, chores at home, relationships, family and so on and so forth. I think we need some stress in our life to help us function at our best, as long as it is manageable. Manageable levels of stress give us a spark of life, release our creative juices and generate excitement by challenging us to stretch our abilities.
However, as I mentioned above - too much stress can lead to health problems, which all often shows on the skin and our face. So often people ask me how to keep my skin smooth (glowing if you like to say it). Well, I normally say - it is in my DNA and a good skin care ritual. I try to make my skin care ritual easy.
Here are the tips:
1. The Golden Rule
Always make sure you clean your make-up or foundation before hitting the bed. Your skin needs to breath overnight and make-up prevents this, as leaving it on overnight blocks the pores which may cause blemishes or blackheads. You don't need to use make-up remover, I use coconut oil, on a cotton pad and gently massage the oil onto your face to get rid of the dirt, foundation or make-up.
2. Sun and Skin
Apply sunscreen with SPF of at least 20 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. As we know, sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, and other skin problems,hence you have to protect your skin from the sun. I use factor 30 or 50 on face and during the day only. I put on normal moisturise, then I apply thinly the sunscreen after. I normally use the Oil spray sunscreen so it can blend naturally on my face, not too creamy and white! Be careful and avoid rubbing near your eyes because, the suncream can make your eyes sting or hurt. I usually spray the oil/cream on my palm first, and use my other hand to rub all over my face. Depending on your preference, I put foundation after the sunscreen, then dub it with powder so it looks matt and natural.
3. Sweat it out
Some of my friends who know me, know that I am not keen on exercise, not regular exercise anyway, but I am lucky that I have a dog, so I take my dog for a short walk everyday and often, for a long walk. Regular exercise such as running, jogging, gym, walking give our body the necessary blood circulation, and also accelerate the cleansing process of our body.
4. Sleeping beauty
Ahhh this is my favourite face care ritual. I love sleeping, but not everybody can sleep well and gain the beauty of sleeping. Try to sleep at least 6-8 hours every night. If you don't get enough sleep, your skin also gets tired just like you. It sags and you get bags.
5. Bye bye acne
I was told by my grandmother that if I wanted to look younger forever! (yeah!) I should put coconut oil on my face regularly or honey (rub gently and thinly on your face). According to natural beauty expert Kim Wallace on SheKnow.com, "Raw honey is incredible for our skin, and its antibacterial properties and hefty serving of skin-saving antioxidants. Raw honey can help us regain our glowing skin" she added, "honey is also great for acne treatment and prevention".
I find honey is effective for clarifying my the dead cells on my face. I don't really go to a spa but I pamper my self and my skin at home. When I feel that I need to pamper my skin and I need to clarifying my pores, because I want it to looks radiant instantly, I use raw honey as a face mask. I put it on and leave it for about 30 minutes before I rinse with water and apply my normal moisture after.
6. Water to the rescue
Drink lots of water daily. Hydrate yourself, at least 8 glasses or more. Also, eat fresh fruits and vegetable that have high mineral content such as cucumber, watermelon, coconut or pineapples, etc. I personally love drinking coconut water. Coming from a tropical country such as Indonesia, coconut water is easy to find and it is CHEAP! Nowadays, you can get coconut water in the carton box, mostly in any superstore, of course they are not fresh.
7. Healthy habits
If you can't avoid stress, you can manage stress. You can learn the stress management techniques like breathing exercises, yoga, meditation/praying or pilates.
I manage my stress by taking my dog for nice walk to my the river, where I can breath fresh air and smell the nature around me. This rejuvenates my spirits and fills it with being grateful for what I have and my surroundings.
Now, all those tips for skin care are easy, natural and cheap, really. But your look is not complete yet. One little thing you might forget -- your smile! Through smiling you reflect your inner joy and happiness. Smiling will help maintain the tone of your facial muscles and skin. So often people say I look 10 years younger - Now you know the secret -- smile often. You can try too.
Misma Hemming - Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Life Coaching, Mentor