Do you get stressed about the appearance of your skin or a sudden pimple that pops up to ruin your day? Do you also notice that you have skin reactions or breakouts when you get stressed? Well, isn’t that the most inconvenient dermal duality if we ever heard one. But it is a common occurrence, and one that happens to many of us.
Though we often think of our minds and bodies as kind of separate parts of our being, there is a much closer connection between mental health and skin health than you think.
What is the connection between mental health and skin health?
As well as reflecting our emotional health, the skin can be an indicator of our physical wellbeing. Heathy skin is important for a healthy body and mind as well as reflecting our overall health and wellbeing.
After all, our skin is the largest organ in our body, so when something is amiss or an emotion is amplified, it’s going to show us.
There have been recent studies that prove this connection exists, which can help us understand what’s going on with our bodies and minds and how to address it, without stressing about it more! You see, our skin has been found to be both an immediate stress perceiver and a target of stress responses. This means that when we experience psychological stress from mental, physical, emotional pressure (or deciding on that perfect outfit) our brain releases chemicals that have an instant effect on our skin.
Because skin is our largest organ, and a sensory organ, the brain targets this key stress mediator or creates immune or inflammatory responses or reactions to exterior forces. So, while the brain and skin might be friends working together under pressure, we don’t appreciate that sudden breakout on our foreheads!
What Can We Do to Improve Stress Levels and Skin Health?
Start With Accepting That A Lot is Out Of Our Control
Of course we are saying don’t stress about something stressful. We know, easier said than done, huh? It isn’t going to be easy, but this is an important move in the right direction. Skin issues classified as psychophysiological (how our mind effects our skin) are affected by emotional factors. When you begin to understand that you can’t necessarily stop our bodies from certain reactions, you can accept it as normal, and try reduce your stress about this or other factors that cause you stress.
Stop Seeking Skin Perfection
While it’s great on one hand to seek ways to improve our skin health, seeking skin perfection can have a negative effect on our minds and bodies. Some of us may have lasting acne scars and blemishes or skin conditions that make us self conscious or carry a heavy weight of embarrassment and anxiety. Skin conditions like these, considered secondary psychiatric skin conditions that affect our mood, can lead to serious mental health side effects. Often, the way we perceive ourselves or think about how others do can lead to anxiety, depression, and degradation of self-esteem. It’s important to remember that nobody is perfect, and your skin challenges don’t make you any less of a person.
We All React Differently, And Can Improve in Different Ways
Every one of us is different, and same goes for our mental health and skin health, or how our bodies react to stress. So, while certain treatments or practices can work for skin challenges, there isn’t a one-fits-all answer. That’s why it can be a good idea to keep an open mind and work on targeting certain factors that might cause stress or skin challenges to flare up. But combining your proactive treatment of skin issues while also addressing any mental factors is a great way to find a resolution fit for you, your mind, and body.
Work On Reducing Stress With Mindful Activities
If our skin health health is tied to our mental health, it’s time to join both together in your skincare routine. By doing certain activities or daily habits that relieve stress and provide mental clarity, this can ultimately have a positive effect on the skin. Being active and going for walks or working out are proven ways to reduce stress. Meditation or yoga are practices that help ease the mind and are focused on improving mental wellbeing. Putting down the electronics and picking up a book or writing in a thought journal can help reduce electronic clutter and negative impacts that social media can have.
Try Natural Solutions To Skin Issues
Some of us have much more severe skin reactions than others, and often times that might cause us to resort to harsh pharmaceutical treatments (that come with extensive warning labels) to solve this. Going “nuclear” on our skin can have a negative effect on other parts. An over-the-counter acne treatment could clear up skin but leave it dry, sensitive and inflamed. Utilising natural products, like our Blemish Control Collection, can holistically address skin concerns while reducing the possibility of causing others. Which can in turn alleviate stresses that might arise from dealing with side effects from harsh chemical-based skincare. All of the products in this line-up harness nature’s most powerful antibacterial essential oil, East Cape mānuka oil, to kill off bad skin bacteria that causes breakouts and blemishes.
While there is still much to learn about our minds and bodies and the connection with our skincare, working to improve both can go a long way toward our wellness as a whole.