So you have a kicka$$ skincare routine. Your diet is semi-on par, however your skin is still breaking out and driving you loco? Have you ever thought that it might be related to stress?
Seriously these days so many of us are so stressed out we should all really be visiting a giant Ashram in India at least once a year. However, since that doesn’t really seem like a feasible idea (or does it? Hmmm…) and we can’t really run away from our work/bills/lives the best thing we can do is learn to manage it.
(Or at least find a little corner for ourselves and make believe it’s an Ashram instead).
You see, stress is evil and sometimes when we’re all ‘GOGOGO’ it can be hard to notice until of course, you have a breakdown…and breakout all over your face too.
You see, the skin reflects the internal environment of our bodies and when something is out of whack it has the potential to show up on our skin, at least that’s what Fusion Health’s Naturopath Erika Morvay told me when I spoke to her a few weeks ago.
She even said that “people who know how to manage their stress levels are likely to have BETTER skin!”
Anyway, stress can also be related to lack of sleep, lack of TLC and a combo of crappy food so I don’t think it’s fair to blame just one of these things (when you can blame a whole range of things HA.) However, stress does seem to play a big role too.
So if you’ve ever (or never) wondered how stress could be affecting you I thought I’d pop up a little ‘stress and your skin’ chat I had with Erika below. It outlines all the things…including foods to eat/herbal supplements and remedies to take. (But if all else fails I’m pretty sure a visit to an Ashram could do wonders for the soul/skin as well.)
Does stress impact the skin? How can signs of stress show up on our skin?
Stress impacts all body systems, including skin. There is a known connection between our gut and skin, known as gut-skin axis. Stress significantly impacts gut function and composition of the gut microbiota (beneficial bacteria).
The skin is also one of our elimination organs and some of the symptoms such as acne, breakouts, excessively dry/dehydrated skin, itchy skin and red inflamed skin may be associated with poor lymphatic function and detoxification.
This is why, in naturopathy, we address gut health as part of skin management protocols.
Do you know of skin conditions, which may be exacerbated by stress?
People who suffer from the so called ‘atopic’ skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, can really feel the effects of stress as their skin symptoms are often exacerbated by it.
Would this mean that happier, less stressed people generally have better skin?
The skin reflects the internal environment of the body so happy people, who know how to manage their stress levels are more likely to have a healthier looking skin.
How can we stop stress messing with our skin?
Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid stress, so having a stress management plan can assist your body to cope better, which can positively impact your skin. Try to eat a varied healthy diet, drink enough water, get plenty of sleep, spend time in nature, move daily and prioritise self-care.
What foods or herbal remedies would you recommend during stressful periods to help support our skin?
Foods rich in the following nutrients help support normal skin health so I recommend you are consuming enough of them in your daily diet or opt for a good quality supplementation, if necessary.
- Vitamins A, C &E
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- B-group vitamins
Herbal remedies such as Sacred Basil, Magnolia and Withania have been traditionally used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to help manage symptoms of stress.
Are there any additional natural remedies we could take or use alongside our skincare to support skin health during stressful periods?
I recommend nutrients that support healthy nervous system and adrenal function such a magnesium and B-complex vitamins, but also vitamin C, which is important for normal function of the adrenal glands and essential for the production of collagen.
Herbs such as Burdock, Dong Quai have traditionaly been used in Chinese and Western herbal medicine to help manage skin conditions and promote a healthy complexion.
Echinacea and Rehmania have anti-inflammatory properties and have been used in traditional Western herbal medicine in the management of skin conditions.
A topical cream, containing herbal extracts such as Goldenseal, Echinacea and Aloe Vera and essentials oils such as Tea Tree may be applied to help soothe affected skin areas.
Can breathing exercises really calm our skin? How?
Yes it can indirectly. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calm.
What would you recommend we do to unwind and relax?
It’s difficult to give specific recommendations as what works for one person may not work for another, but I think we could all benefit from laughing more. They say laughter is the best medicine, so in addition to the above mentioned tips on stress management I recommend having as much fun as possible and don’t take yourself too seriously.
As Chinese herbal formulas are designed to achieve a stronger effect than single herbs, be sure to speak to your healthcare practitioner to find out which supplement is right for you.
Erika is a qualified Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist. She has over a decade of experience working within the natural therapies industry and continues to educate herself to grow her expertise. She is part of the technical services team at Global Therapeutics Fusion Health. She is also a founder of an online natural fertility coaching business, educating and supporting couples on their fertility journey and can be contacted at www.erikamorvay.com
Tell me babez, how does stress impact your skin?