This Is How Your Mind Can Mess With Your Skin
Why Does System Akvile Believe Calmer Mind, Calmer Skin?
I find it’s really hard for me to switch off sometimes. Instead of taking life one step at a time I have a habit of thinking about everything all at once - which can unsurprisingly be really overwhelming. Not only does this leave me feeling stressed, my skin also reacts badly.
In order to show you why we believe in a mind-skin connection, we’d like to take a closer look into the topics of mindfulness, happiness, confidence and stress. All of these topics are interlinked and often appear cyclically in our lives e.g. stress = bad skin = lack of confidence = stress = bad skin etc. and alternatively mindfulness = happiness = good skin = confidence = mindfulness and so on (I could literally be here forever repeating myself).
At System Akvile we believe in doing things holistically. This means that in order to help your skin you must also help your mind (this goes for our body and nutrition too).
Changing the way we think and feel is unsurprisingly seen as a difficult task. It doesn’t have to be though. When thinking of ‘changing’ thoughts and feelings this seems like a near impossible task but when you think about ‘training’ your brain it seems much more manageable. Making this training simple and fun is what we want to help with at System Akvile.
Since stress seems to have the most dramatic impact on the condition of our skin we’ll start there.
Why is Stress Bad For Your Skin?
Stress isn’t the root cause for acne-prone skin but it is a trigger factor. Of course, it’s a vicious circle as having acne-prone skin can more often than not cause us to feel negative emotions about ourselves which lead to stress. I'll be the first to admit that stress can get the best of me. Not only does it descend from my mind to my body - it can show up on my skin, too.
Stress can cause our skin to flare up with new conditions and worsen pre-existing ones. Fun fact (not), when I was particularly stressed during my final school exams I developed severe psoriasis (honestly, it was really really unpleasant) on my neck and got pimples all over my face when I had never had problems with either before. It was a real turning point for me, I realized that if I hold my stress in it will find a way out regardless - in this case, it completely messed up my skin. I found that as soon as my stress levels decreased the psoriasis completely disappeared (which unfortunately is not the case for everyone) and my pimples significantly reduced.
For me working on both my mind and skin simultaneously is a good way to cover all bases. Do you have a simple and easy skincare routine that can help your skin superficially? Are you practicing methods of de-stress and self-love? These things go hand in hand and it’s important to recognize that.
It wasn’t easy to reduce my stress but what really helped for me was practicing methods of mindfulness and self-love.
Mind Full vs. Mindful
Now we know that stress can cause our skin to worsen - how do we help our minds to help our skin?
Mindfulness is a state of nonjudgmental awareness of what’s happening in the present moment, including awareness of your own thoughts, feelings, and senses. Over the past decade, mindfulness has become a feature in the world of mental health because of its many benefits to cognition and mental wellbeing.
Davis and Hayes of Pennsylvania State University note “Research has found that...students report less anxiety and depression symptoms after an 8-week MBSR [mindfulness-based stress reduction] training compared to a waiting list control group...The control group evidenced similar gains after exposure to MBSR training.”
The best thing about mindfulness is its simplicity. It encourages you to take life one step at a time and think in the present. This not only helps our skin because we feel less stressed, it also helps us prioritize the important things in life. Therefore we don’t feel as concerned when we get a pimple or two and feel more confident to boot!
Speaking of Confidence...
Looking after your mind, body, nutrition and skin can go along way in improving the way you look and feel. It’s all about responding to what your skin needs and how it changes, day by day. Blemishes and imperfections can chip away at your confidence, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Knowing that you are doing the best you can for your skin is a real confidence booster!
It’s not shallow to think that when you look better you feel better - psychologists have long understood the connection between our physical appearance and our self-confidence. Given that our skin is the most visible part of our physical being, having healthy looking skin can make us more confident and in turn happier.
There is a difference between having perfect skin and ideal skin. Perfectionism is impossible. Whereas striving for the best skin you can have is not. We often are bombarded with images in the media that have been edited to make skin look flawless - but this is not real. The reality is that just like personalities, interests and tastes our skin is also unique from one another. From freckles to laughter lines our skin tells a story that is much more interesting than an airbrushed image. Try to love your own skin’s story and respect other people’s in turn. Self-acceptance is the first step to a more confident and happy you.
Is Happiness the Secret to Good Skin?
Yes, and no. The connection between happiness, stress and our skin can be a bit of a ‘chicken or the egg’ situation. Which came first?
Our thoughts and feelings influence the majority of our actions. Similarly our mind can affect our bodies health. It’s a fact that when we are stressed our body can often be affected along with our mind. In this sense the way we think and feel can also have an impact on our skin.
When you are feeling stressed your body can release cortisol into your body which affects your gut health. This in turn can play havoc with your hormones, which as we know tends not to end well for your skin.
Alternatively, just like how negative emotions affect your skin badly, positive ones can improve it. When we are feeling happy and relaxed we are able to sleep, eat and, ultimately, think in a healthier manner. This means our skin is able to repair and renew itself a lot easier.
Being happier can also keep those pimple-causing-hormones at bay which can cause less blemishes.
A nice little addition here is that some research suggests that if you laugh and smile more you tend to look younger. I don’t know about younger but I can definitely say if someone looks jolly I am far more likely to chat with them and not even notice that they have a pimple or two!
So, To Recap
Limitations: Due to us all being unique it can be tricky to figure out how to make our minds happier - as usual there is no one-trick-solves-all answer. While feeling happier can help our skin there are always going to be other factors to consider, like a good skincare routine, nutrition, and plain old genetics. But, on the plus side, a boost in mood can have some positive effects on your complexion. All we can do is give it a go and wait for improvements!
The Bottom line: Mind is a very difficult, personal topic - we can let our thoughts lift us up and bring us crashing down. However, it’s so important to address while dealing with skin issues. As I already mentioned mindfulness, happiness, confidence and stress are all interlinked. They are their own microcosm of the holistic approach. Work on them individually and they will help to improve one another symbiotically. Being happy can be hard but it’s important for our well-being and our skin.
If you suspect that stress may be causing your spots then why not try to starting tracking your stress levels in a skincare diary - and making note of the pimples along with it. Or, you could begin a mindfulness journal in order to de-clutter your mind and begin focusing more on the present.
P.S. If you are currently dealing with severe stress, anxiety or depression that you are struggling to improve by yourself then please go and see a medical professional. Your health and happiness is of utmost importance to us. At System Akvile we are focused on prevention and improvement - not medical treatment!