It’s the New Year, and we’re encouraging you to think about mental health for beautiful skin.
What does one have to do with the other? A lot more than you may think!
How Does Mental Health Affect Beautiful Skin?
Over the last several years, scientists have found a strong link between skin health and psychology.
According to the American Psychology Association (APA), some dermatologists were skeptical about this connection as recently as 2015. But a simple blush when you’re embarrassed shows that your skin reflects your emotions and mental state at the moment.
Today, dermatologists are much more accepting of the idea that mental health can affect skin health. There’s even a new field of skin care called psychodermatology, which is the study of how mental health conditions can affect skin health, and vice versa.
Studies have shown that psychologic stress can disrupt the skin’s outer barrier, affecting its ability to hang onto moisture and resist problems like eczema and psoriasis flare-ups. Psychological stress may also act as a stimulant for inflammation in the skin, which can increase the risk of acne breakouts, redness, and rosacea flare-ups.
Here at CV Skinlabs, we agree! We take a holistic approach to skin care and wellness, recognizing that the health of skin is interconnected with the health of mind and body.
5 Ways Mental Health Affects Skin Health
Let’s look at the various ways your mental health can affect your skin’s health:
When you’re stressed, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol. These hormones can lead to increased inflammation throughout the body, including the skin. That inflammation can cause redness and acne, or exacerbate skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
That’s why all of our formulas include our potent Tri-Rescue Complex, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients that help calm and soothe skin, promote healing and repair, keep inflammation at bay, and the skin barrier strong and resilient.
In some people, stress can cause damaging behaviors such as picking at the skin, scratching, or other repetitive actions that harm the surface of the skin and cause redness and swelling.
Research shows that anxiety can make the skin more sensitive while exacerbating skin disorders. Anxiety has also been linked to the development of skin rashes and hives and to trigger flare-ups of conditions like herpes simplex. It can also lead to dryness, cracking, flaking, dermatitis, and more.
Excess Oil Production
If you have oily skin to begin with, you may notice more acne breakouts when you’re stressed. The extra cortisol encourages the skin to produce even more oil. Studies have found that higher levels of stress correlate with more severe acne.
Suppressed Immune Function
Your skin has its own immune system, and when you’re stressed out, that immune system will not function as well as usual. When your immune system is working well, it keeps you safe from infections and diseases. But when it’s not working as it should, inflammation, redness, allergic reactions, sensitivity, and skin conditions all get worse.
Boost Your Mental Health for Beautiful Skin!
On the other side of the coin, scientists have found that a calm or positive mental state exerts a beneficial effect on the skin.
That may be because when you’re feeling good, your body increases levels of certain hormones associated with good mood states, like dopamine and serotonin.
Scientists are still researching the effects, but suffice it to say that when you feel clear, centered, and positive about your life, your skin will naturally look and feel better, too.
We encourage you to make your mental health a priority this year, not only for the skin benefits but for all the ways it can improve your daily life. Here are some activities that we know from research can help improve your mental outlook while reducing stress.
Meditation is one of the best ways to calm a stressed-out brain. It teaches you to be present and to notice your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Over time, this process helps you reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
If you’re not sure where to start, try one of today’s easy guided meditation sessions online. Some good options include:
2. Move More
Scientific research has proven that regular exercise promotes better mental health. It’s also shown that exercisers are better able to respond to stressful situations more calmly and healthily than their non-exercising counterparts.
Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and can do every day. Good options include taking a walk or bike ride, joining a dance or spin class, exercising with a video or video game, or getting involved in a sports team.
3. Get Outside
We spend a lot of our time indoors these days, but research shows that getting outside—particularly to green spaces—creates many positive health benefits. These include a lower risk of depression, quicker stress recovery, and improved mental focus.
Try taking a walk outside for at least 20 minutes a day.
4. Revisit Your Hobbies
When was the last time you played your instrument, crocheted a blanket, or made a new desk?
You may think that your hobbies are an indulgence, but they have positive effects on mental health. When you’re engaged in doing something you enjoy simply for the pleasure of doing it, the effects are similar to those of mediation. You will feel calmer and more focused while shedding stress.
It’s so worthwhile that you should mark time on your calendar to engage in your hobbies. Join a quilting club, attend a painting class, head out with friends to practice your photography, or pull out your guitar and play.
5. Prioritize Connection
How often do you get together with positive friends and loved ones? It may not be often enough.
Connection is one of our primary needs for optimal health and well-being. If you feel you have been neglecting this area of your life, make it a priority to reconnect this year. Meet a friend for coffee, have loved ones over for dinner, or schedule a Zoom call with someone who is far away.
You may also want to consider joining a club or volunteering so you can make new connections.
6. Start a Gratitude Practice
Studies show that when you train your brain to be grateful and to regularly notice your blessings, you benefit your overall mental health.
Reminding yourself what you’re grateful for can help arrest negative thinking patterns, reducing anxiety and stress. That doesn’t mean you should ignore negative feelings and experiences, only that it helps to take time every day to focus on the good things.
Perhaps the easiest way is to make a list either first thing in the morning or last thing at night of the five things you’re grateful for that day. Don’t forget the simple things, like having a roof over your head and enough to eat!
The New Year is a great time to get rid of the clutter from the year before and start fresh. Studies show that reducing clutter re-energizes you and helps reduce anxiety. Decluttering also helps reduce distraction and increase your ability to focus.
Look around your work and living spaces and see what you might clear out. Think twice about holding onto items you “may” need one day. If you haven’t used them in six months or more, it’s probably time to let them go. Donate them to your local Goodwill or shelter where someone else can enjoy them.
One Last Tip
Finally, we recommend you take your time with your skincare routine! Rather than hurry through it, you can turn it into a calming, soothing “me-time” that helps dissolve stress and refresh your mood. Light a candle, turn on some music, and indulge in your favorite mask for a truly restorative experience.
All CV Skinlabs products were formulated to be very effective and safe to use with peace of mind. They are thoroughly researched and science-backed to provide the utmost in nourishing care with targeted and clinically-proven solutions, helping balance and restore skin health and radiance.
We hope you choose CV Skinlabs to get a healthy start on really great skin. Happy New Year!
How do you prioritize mental health?
Featured image courtesy Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.