Many people don’t realize just how much their emotions can impact their skin. Whether you’re feeling jittery about a big interview, excitement about an upcoming party, or sadness over a tragic loss, there’s no doubt that our skin can reflect the way we’re feeling. Science is just beginning to discover how strong the connection is between the mind and the skin. Blushing when you’re embarrassed or getting goosebumps when you’re scared are some examples almost everyone has experienced.
For some people, stress shows on their skin as acne, for others it might show up as rosacea. A third person might even get hives when they’re over-stressed. From affecting the way our cells age to keeping cortisol levels under control, taking control of our emotions can directly affect the way our skin copes. Hormones are at the root of many skin issues. Here are some ways the skin, hormones, and our emotions are all connected.
Endorphins and Happiness
Believe it or not, happiness really does make your skin glow! Positive emotions, such as joy and happiness encourage the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins that can actually reduce skin inflammation and increase blood flow. That increased blood flow leads to a beautiful glow in your skin.
Cortisol and Stress
Today’s lifestyle is incredibly busy. It can often be challenging to incorporate day-to-day responsibilities and taking care of ourselves. Just finding a way to spend quality time with loved ones can be difficult. It’s often easiest to push your own needs aside. However, taking time for self-care is crucial for reducing stress levels.
High levels of stress can age you fast because stress leads to an increase in cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has been linked to everything from insomnia to inflammatory skin issues like acne. Not only that, but it also triggers the release of collagenase and metalloproteinases, the enzymes that break down elastin and collagen, which in turn leads to increased fine lines and other signs of aging.
Inflammation and Negativity
Negative emotions, such as anger and negativity, cause a release of epinephrine, as well as cortisol. An increase in these two hormones leads to an inflammatory effect which causes increased vasodilation. This widening of the blood vessels could cause redness of the skin and rosacea as well as excess in oil production, which can lead to increased cell inflammation and autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
So, reducing stress and negativity in your life can have significant benefits for your skin. Mind-body techniques, such as yoga, hypnosis, focused breathing, and meditation, could be the key to clearing up the skin for some people since these techniques are especially beneficial for combatting stress and anxiety. Of course, getting plenty of quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercise, and taking time for yourself are all important, too.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.