Soothe Stressed Skin from Within with Natural Skin Care
You can pretty much set your clock by it: just as you are getting ready for a big event – an interview, a presentation at work, an exam, an important party or even your wedding – your skin is likely to break out in spots or pimples! Whatever the cause of your breakout, there are steps you can take to soothe stressed skin from within with natural skin care.
It’s not just bad luck that skin problems so often seem to flare up just before big events. There is a direct link between what is known as ‘episodic stress’ and your skin breaking out in spots and pimples or other skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea.
Stress causes the production of cortisol. This is a steroid hormone responsible for regulating many of your body’s processes including your metabolism and immune system. Raised levels of cortisol have a range of effects on the body, including stimulating over-production of sebum, the skin’s natural oil. This is often the underlying cause of many skin problems, particularly acne and spots.
The effects of stress on your body also impact your immune system, affecting your ability to heal. This means that blemishes that you would usually expect to only last a couple of days seem to sit around for ages, making you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable just when you need to concentrate on bigger things.
Hormones, Hormones, Hormones!
Teenagers, who often suffer from skin problems, have the additional issue of having to deal with fluctuating levels of the hormone Testosterone, which is also often a key culprit behind spots and pimples. Stress can increase production of Testosterone, causing a perfect cocktail of hormonal activity that is almost sure to lead to annoying breakouts.
So if your skin problems are caused by changes inside your body, what natural skin care steps can you take to soothe stress-related skin problems from within so that you can focus on your big event without having the additional worry of a face full of spots?
- Get moving. When you are feeling anxious, it is very tempting to just curl up on the sofa and watch a movie. A nice cuppa and an old movie may seem like an antidote to stress, but in fact getting out and taking a little gentle exercise will get your blood moving and oxygenate all your organs, including your skin, helping to improve the skin’s immunity and promote healing. If you take your exercise in the fresh air, you will have the added benefit of sunlight stimulating the brain’s natural feel-good hormone serotonin which helps to reduce levels of stress and anxiety.
- Spoil yourself. Doing things that you know will help to reduce stress levels will also help calm your skin. Try a good natter with a close friend who will be supportive and listen to your worries, perhaps over a cup of stress-relieving ginseng tea.
- Use an app to help de-stress. There is now a growing choice of apps for your smartphone that can help you manage stress, from practicing mindfulness to learning about the benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There are some good ideas for mainly free apps to try on the NHS Direct website.
- Try a herbal remedy to help alleviate stress. St John’s Wort has been traditionally used to alleviate the symptoms of low mood or anxiety for hundreds of years and licensed traditional herbal remedies such as HRI Good Mood can help relieve symptoms of slightly low mood and anxiety. The website of the mental health charity MIND says “It is thought that St John’s Wort works in a similar way to standard antidepressant medication. Research suggests that it increases the activity of brain chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline that are thought to play an important part in regulating our mood.”
- Breathe. More. Slowly! As stress increases, adrenaline in the bloodstream makes your heart beat faster as your body sees stress as a trigger to prepare for ‘fight or flight’. By consciously slowing down your breathing, you can reduce your heart rate and reduce the uncomfortable feeling of stress.
- Help calm skin from within. Using a traditional herbal remedy containing Blue Flag and Burdock Root, such as HRI Clear Complexion, can help with the symptomatic relief of minor skin conditions such as spots, pimples, blemishes, mild acne and mild eczema. Blue Flag can help improve the function of the spleen and the lymphatic glands, helping to clear toxins from the body. Burdock Root is best known for its anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why licensed herbal remedies containing Burdock Root are a popular choice as a traditional herbal remedy for skin conditions such as mild eczema and psoriasis.
- Try to stick to a regular bedtime. Everyone knows that having enough sleep is essential to help you cope with stressful situations, but of course, the first thing that happens when you are worried is that you find it hard to sleep! Making sure that you stick to a regular bedtime and try to keep your phone or tablet out of the bedroom when you’re getting ready to go to sleep. If you can manage to get a decent night’s sleep it will help to improve your wellbeing as well as the state of your skin.
- Hydrate. Making sure you drink plenty of water is essential to helping to keep your skin fresh, as well as helping to reduce stress. The link between water and stress reduction is well documented. All our organs, including the brain, need water to function properly, so if you become de-hydrated, it can contribute towards feeling stressed. As little as half a litre of water can help to reduce levels of cortisol so that you can put things back in perspective.
- Focus on your diet. ‘You are what you eat’ is a bit of an overused saying, but when it comes to supporting your mind and body, it is absolutely true. Our bodies need fuel in the form of good, easily digestible food to run efficiently. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale are rich in a substance called folate which helps with the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine.
So if you’ve got an important event coming up, don’t let stress-related skin problems ruin it – take these few steps to help keep your complexion smooth and spot-free. Watch our videon on natural skin care for more ideas.