by Paula Simpson
Like no other organ, the skin is exposed to multiple stressors from our external environment and within the body. The “brain-skin connection” has been a topic of interest among health experts for some time, particularly the influence of stress on skin health and appearance.
The Stress Response
When we are exposed to a “stressor” the body triggers a reaction in the brain which triggers a cascade of hormonal, immune and nervous system reactions. The fluctuations in hormones with acute and chronic stress stimulate an inflammatory response within the skin and offset the skin’s cellular balance and immune defense. These combined mechanisms are believed to impair the healing process of “break outs” and offset skin’s natural cellular balance.
So if you can manage stress, your skin will also manage itself back to its natural healthy glow!
Here are some tips to get you on the right track:
Get enough Sleep! When we get a good quality sleep, we naturally heal and reset our bodies to their equilibrium. If you having a hard time sleeping, stay away from caffeine or eating late in the evening. If you must have a little caffeine, opt for a high quality Japanese Green Tea instead. Try a calming herbal tea blend before bed, turn off the TV and give yourself some time to relax before getting to sleep.
Focus on whole foods based diet – If you are stressed and want to help your skin, minimize your exposure to processed and chemical laden foods. When we are stressed, our digestive system can also be negatively affected and have a harder time digesting foods. Focus on smoothies with antioxidant rich berries, a rice or nut based milk and gut friendly yogurt to start your morning off. Add a dash of cinnamon to help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day and help minimize those “stress related cravings.” Chia seeds are also great to add fiber and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.
Breathe! We have heard this many times, but taking a few moments out of your day to slow down and focus on your thoughts and body can definitely help minimize ongoing stressors we encounter throughout the day.
Hydrate! When we are stressed our mechanism we can lose our thirst mechanism. Make sure you are getting water rich whole foods into your diet, herbal teas and water. Try to avoid dehydrating ones, such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Paula Simpson is a member of our Wellness Week expert panel. Wellness Week, March 19-25, is your chance to look and feel your best with exclusive spa treatments, private training and more, all at $50 prices or 50% discounts. Learn more at wellnessweek2012.com