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The connection between healthy skin and stress

People helping people

Hello to our amazing global community! No matter where you live, one thing is for certain, we, as a global community, are all in this together. We are all doing our best to deal with the difficult circumstances resulting from this global pandemic. It has always been our mission statement at African Botanics to promote healthy and happy skin through the development, sourcing and production of products that embody the rich diversity and flora of the South African andscape. We know our global community is also made up of this same wonderful diversity. With this in mind and with our deepest appreciation and commitment to encourage and support each and every member of our global community, we embark on this series. 

Stress is beyond skin deep

Whether due to a fear of contracting Covid-19, worry over the economic impact you and your family are now experiencing, fear over the future resulting from the pandemic, or anxiety over some other health, economic or family issue, we are all feeling stress at this time. Our skin is the first line of defense against any harmful virus, bacteria or the penetrating effects of overexposure to the sun. It  also conveys the first signs of our emotions stirring beneath the surface. We have all seen and maybe experienced the red cheeks of embarrassment.

As the body’s largest organ, our skin, like a clearly visible neon sign, will always reflect the state of our mental, emotional and physical health and wellness. As an important indicator of the significant connection between the mind and our skin, a specialized field of medicine developed called, Psychodermatology. These highly specialized doctors help people who are dealing with various types of psychological related skin issues. Going back all the way back to the skin-to-skin contact between newborn and mother, it is believed that communication through the skin is a very important part of the development of feelings about self and the world around us. With all of these deep and intertwined connections, it is not hard to understand how our emotions can affect our skin.

The stress / skin reaction

Stress, depression and anxiety can contribute to many different types of skin issues like: acne, rosacea and eczema, to name a few. When under stress, our bodies produce more skin sebum, oily discharge that can contribute to clogged pores and aggravate acne. As a chronic inflammatory condition, eczema can be worsened by stress which is known to increase inflammation within the body.

Through various receptors and chemical messengers, neuropeptides, the brain and nervous system dramatically influence the skin’s immune cells and subsequently overall skin health and wellness. Continued scientific research has found that certain types of stress can interfere with the immune system which affects the skin’s ability to heal. It is not hard to understand how the current stress that we are all going through might be presenting skin issues for many of us.

Helping our stressed out skin

While we will explore these topics in more depth within our upcoming articles, there are many ways you can help to reduce your stress and promote healthy and happy skin. Of course the first step is to seek to reduce your stress. The reduction of stress will be different for everyone, but generally seeking time in your day to stop, sit and take a few minutes to relax and breath deeply focusing your thoughts on a simple and encouraging topic from your day, can help. Simple mindful meditation and focused breathing have shown to be helpful in the reduction of stress.

In addition to the reduction of stress, we can help promote healthy and happy skin by ensuring that we achieve optimal levels of rest, hydration and exercise. A healthy diet will also aid and help to equip our bodies to support us during these difficult and stressful times. Additionally, to help soothe, restore and revitalize your stressed out skin during this difficult time, we recommend these essentials:

Positivity, the pathway to protection

As noted above, stress can reduce our immune systems ability to protect us when we need that protection the most. The idea of whether you are generally optimistic or pessimistic can impact your overall health and wellness. Studies have shown that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can impact many areas of our health and wellness. Positive thinking that generally accompanies optimism is a key part of effective stress management and effective stress management is associated with many health benefits such as healthy and happy skin.

It can be very hard to find reasons to be positive during times like these. However, when we look around and all of our fellow citizens on this planet who are seeking everyday to help those struggling and the scientists and researchers who are making great progress towards effective treatments and vaccines to help bring an end to this pandemic, there are indeed reasons to be hopeful, encouraged and positive!

Next in the series

In the next article in this series, we will take a deeper look at a few of the more common skin issues that result from stress. Having a better understanding about these issues and some options to help promote and support a healing environment and the ultimate restoration of healthy and happy skin is our goal at African Botanics. Until next time, Be Well and Stay Safe!

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