What if I told you that meditation is the missing piece in your skincare routine?
I know it sounds a little woo-woo but hear me out. Have you noticed that when you’re under stress your acne worsens, your psoriasis flares up and your skin looks like a mess?
It’s not a coincidence. Stress triggers inflammation in the body and inflammation wreaks all kinds of havoc on your skin.
It doesn’t have to though. Stress is not a normal part of life. Sure, a little stress here and there is normal. But the constant stream of emails and notifications, urgent work deadlines, the routine of getting stuck in traffic and all the other annoying aspects of modern life? We’re not designed to deal with them.
How Does Stress Affect Your Skin?
Warning: it ain’t pretty.
Stress releases cortisol and other hormones that wreak havoc on your skin. Here are all the ways stress damages skin:
- Flare-ups: stress triggers inflammation, which in turn leads to another outbreak of acne, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
- Duller complexion: did you know your skin naturally exfoliates on its own? When you’re under stress, the process slows down, making your skin look dull and tired.
- Slower skin healing: I’m not talking just about cuts and bruises. Pimples, dryness due to too much cleansing/exfoliating… The more stressed you are, the longer any skin problem takes to heal.
- Weakened protective barrier: chronic stress reduces the amount of lipids and proteins - the building blocks of your skin’s protective barrier - your skin produces. Without them, your skin’s protective barrier is weaker and more prone to damage from the sun, pollution, germs and all of its other enemies.
In other worse, stress doesn’t just give you acne, dry skin, a duller complexion and plenty other skin problems. It makes sure your skin won’t recover from them anytime soon.
Skincare helps a lot in treating the symptoms. But - you guessed it - if you don’t deal with the stress too, the problem will keep coming back. Again. And again. And again.
Meditation can help you break this vicious circle and give you back the clear, glowing skin you deserve.
Here’s what meditation does for your skin:
- Meditation Helps Your Skin Heal Faster
I bet if I told you meditation can treat psoriasis, you’d call me crazy.
Yet, that’s just what science discovered. In one study, psoriasis sufferers listened to meditation tapes while undergoing ultraviolet light treatment.
The results? They healed 4 times faster than non-meditators! Scientists believe it’s because meditation reduces the stress that makes your psoriasis flare-up in the first place and triggers the body’s healing response. (Source)
FYI, meditation doesn’t just help cure psoriasis. Research from the University of Sheffield shows it works for eczema and acne, too.
- Meditation Makes Your Skin Glow
Did you know that when you’re under stress, your body uses its resources, energy and nutrients to deal with the threat?
One way it does this is by taking oxygen away from your skin and bringing it to other organs, like the heart, that need it more when you’re in fight or flight mode.
And when your body is under chronic stress, it’s always in fight or flight mode - even when there are no real threats around you.
Meditation relaxes your mind, helping it to realise you’re safe. Now the danger’s over, your body - and your skin - can go back to its normal working mode.
The extra oxygen and nutrients temporarily diverted to the heart and other vital organs find their way back to the skin.
Now it has all the nutrients it needs, your skin starts behaving as normal again. It exfoliates regularly, heals faster and gets it glow back. Bye bye, dull skin!
- Meditation Improves Your Self-Esteem
Let’s face it: when you don’t look good, you don’t feel good. Acne, psoriasis & co really knock down your confidence and make you feel unattractive.
Meditation can help with that too - and not just by helping your skin heal faster. That’s a huge part of it, but not the whole story.
I’m sure you’ve heard that meditation triggers the brain to produce more serotonin, the feel-good hormones that instantly lift your mood and make you feel happier.
The more serotonin your brain releases, the happier you feel - regardless of what’s going on in your life or on your skin.
If you’re having a bad skin day, meditate away.
How To Get Started With Meditation
At this point, you’re probably wondering why meditation? Is it the only way to reduce the stress that leads to bad skin?
Nope, but meditation is the easiest. You can do it anytime, anywhere and it doesn’t cost you a cent.
Here are a few tips to get you started with meditation:
- Choose the right form of meditation for you: you don’t need to sit cross-legged chanting spiritual mantras. Vipassana meditation is all about focusing on the present moment. A body scan helps you bring awareness to all the sensations your body is feeling. Just taking deep breaths in and out for 10 minutes reduces anxiety. Experiment to find out what form of meditation you like best. If you don’t like it, you won’t do it!
- Use an app: Insight Timer features thousands of meditations for different problems and occasions. Whether you’re looking for a 5 minute vipassana meditation to calm your nerves before a job interview or a 30 minute body scan meditation to help you sleep, you’ll find it there. The best part? It’s free.
- Start small: don’t have 30 minutes to meditate every day? No worries. Meditate for 5. Take a few deep breaths while you’re standing in line at the checkout. Wake up 10 minutes earlier so you can do a body scan. And don’t worry if your mind keeps wandering off. That’s totally normal.
If you’re tried everything to get your troubled skin under control, take up meditation. Even 10 minutes a day will make a huge difference for your skin.