Skincare & Stress-busting: How to Take Care of Your Skin During the Apocalypse
Ever since the onset of the pandemic, many of us are digitally drained from sitting in front of a computer screen for long hours. With the world changing at a fast pace and challenges of physical and mental health, it is important to recognize that skincare is more than just topical treatment. Instead of focusing on filtered images on Instagram, it would be a healthier approach to see skincare as a healing and holistic journey. Let’s have a look at how to incorporate easy habits that can help our skincare routine in small but impactful ways, from the inside out.
You Are What You Eat or Don’t Eat
It goes without saying that whatever we eat plays into our health, and affects the way our skin acts too. Stress may lead to high cortisol levels and a fluctuation in insulin. Therefore, excessive consumption of junk food is not recommended by doctors because it may lead to health problems and this may add to stress or anxiety, in the long run. It may also cause inflammation and gut issues which in turn could affect the skin leading to breakouts, redness or irritation.
How many times have you heard someone rave about how their skin drastically improved after a lifestyle change? For some people these lifestyle changes come with the well-being of physical, mental and skin health. For others, it might not make an apparent difference whether they eat a bowl of fruits and vegetables or a bag full of crisps or candy. Let’s just say that our skin genetics play a huge role in how it behaves, but adding healthy nutrition to one’s diet is never a bad thing. Healthy nutrition helps regulate the body so it may function at optimum levels, which in turn could save you the stress of developing any major health issues.
Without getting into the extensive physiology and chemical breakdown of how certain foods, vitamins (A, B, C, D, E & K) and minerals help the skin, let’s have a quick look at some buzzwords that can give your skincare game an extra oomph from the inside:
1) Fatty Fish or Omega 3 Fatty Acids
This helps in keeping the skin moisturized, supple and prevents it from drying out. It can also help with inflammation and redness which might be a result of an irritated moisture barrier. Many people who experience eczema flare ups, psoriasis and other atopic conditions find that eating fish or bioavailable supplements improves their itching, dryness and irritation. If you’re looking to strengthen your skin’s elasticity and reduce inflammation (or even acne), it could help to add Omega 3 foods to your menu or morning supplements. Just be careful not to buy a generic brand, or else your body will probably pee it all out.
Before I begin, let me say that zinc is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is important to consult with a general physician before starting any supplements so you can gauge what your body does or does not need. If you’re consuming zinc in your diet through nuts, beans, poultry, red meat and other sources but are still deficient then maybe adding a supplement could help in the short run. I personally think zinc is an additional bonus to my skincare and hair regimen. Many people have shared how it helped clear their spots and inflammation or sped up their wound healing process.
3) Green Tea or Spearmint Tea
Green tea or spearmint tea, that is the question! Green tea is known to have anti-oxidants which resolves oxidative stress in our bodies. Many people believe it helps their complexion by protecting it against sun damage. Others think it is a healthy way of getting their daily intake of hydration, which in turn also improves the appearance of your skin. In recent years, people have claimed that it has helped them maintain their skin while ageing.
What about spearmint tea? It is known to have an anti-androgen effect which is especially helpful before the monthly cycle when androgenic hormones are on a rise. Women with PCOS have also reported that it has helped them with their symptoms. So, brewing a warm cup of spearmint tea could be helpful with hormonal breakouts. It is also a great way of consuming liquids and hydrating your body instead of resorting to fizzy drinks. I’ve made it a habit to have a warm cup of green tea every evening to celebrate a successful end to my day. These small self-care habits could reduce stress levels in today’s fast-paced lives.
4) Bone Broth: Some Say It’s Magic!
Gather bones, cartilages and apple cider vinegar; cook them in a large pot. You can add a few vegetables and herbs of your own liking and voila! You have bone broth.
Some people recommend drinking bone broth everyday to aid with leaky gut and improve digestion. The gelatin in bone broth is thought to help with repairing the intestinal lining and collagen is known for its anti-inflammatory properties; this is helpful for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or other digestive ailments. Traditional healers believe that healing the gut can resolve other issues too. I’ve heard a few people notice an improvement in tone and texture by incorporating bone broth in their daily routines.
Jenifer Myers talks about skincare and nutrition on her channel, and this video explains how she makes bone broth and stores it to consume it throughout the following days. She often shares how her nutrition and lifestyle has healed her psoriasis and helps with skin maintenance. Bone broth is a beneficial and direct source of collagen which can be easily made at home instead of buying supplements that are advertised online. If you’re on a budget and want a reliable source of collagen, then cook it in a large pot and store it in glass jars to consume throughout the week.
I volunteer as tribute to try this bone broth recipe for the next few months and record it so I can share my personal findings here.
Exercise: Find Something You Find Fun!
Exercise is a great way to balance stress hormone levels like cortisol and adrenaline. It can also help with anxiety, depression and sleep. When you exercise, endorphins are released which in turn can help your mood and generate overall positive feelings. I think it is important to pick a form of exercise that you enjoy and that makes you happy. It could be running, swimming, yoga poses, kickboxing or even a routine jog in the park.
Keeping your stress levels down helps to prevent inflammation in the body, as a result this may also help your skin A quick jog also helps with blood circulation and oxygenation which is likely to give your skin a nice flushed glow.
Grounding, Presence of Mind & Hugging Yourself
Our mental health can impact how we see ourselves, every day. It is important to manage our mental health in a consistent and balanced way instead of dealing with it as a quick fix approach. Small expressions of self-care should be a part of your daily routine. This could be taking a peaceful walk at night, or treating yourself to a cookie or just taking out ten minutes a day to have quiet time for yourself.
In order to keep our self-worth intact, it is essential that our minds live in the present moment instead of reacting to what ifs. By living in the present moment, we are able to appreciate whatever surrounds us instead of the instant gratification that comes with likes on a filtered image. It doesn’t hurt to take a small break where you can comfortably sit down and inhale short breaths and exhale long breaths. A few self-soothing exercises like hugging yourself and humming for stress-relief can also be relaxing.
By reducing stress levels, anxiety and depression we can curb the onset of negative self-image and thoughts associated with it. Take some time out for yourself tonight, listen to your favourite song, take a few deep breaths and give yourself a pat on the back. Until we meet again!