MINDFULNESS: HOW IT COULD HELP YOUR SKIN
Mindfulness might be an effective tool in the battle against stress and anxiety but did you know it could also help your skin? Heather Stephen explains – by Harley Street Emporium
We spend half our life haring around doing a dozen different things at once but it can have disastrous effects on our skin. Studies have shown that the hormones we release when we’re anxious like cortisol and adrenalin can cause inflammation and aggravate conditions like psoriasis, acne, dermatitis and even alopecia (hair loss).
And there is evidence stress even gives us wrinkles because of the destructive effect cortisol has on collagen.
So what should we do to relax our constantly racing minds and give our looks a boost? Well, we could do worse than the gentle art of mindfulness.
This form of meditation retrains the brain to pay attention to the present and switch off from upsetting thoughts and worries.
“Becoming mindful helps us to be more clearly aware of the thoughts that go through our minds and the way we respond emotionally to events,” wrote clinical psychologist Dr Jane Hutton in a review for the Dermatological Nursing journal.
“And this helps us decide how best to address the issues we can do something about and to develop greater acceptance of those things we cannot change.”
How does it help?
Mindfulness teacher Julie Stannard, based at the Horder Centre in East Sussex, says: “Mindfulness has been shown to help skin conditions as it reduces stress and helps the immune system to work better.
“Researchers have found people who have attended mindfulness training and have shown significant improvement in their psoriasis, have been found to have an increase in the brain’s cortical layer which is responsible for attention.”
And she adds: “Other studies have shown people practising mindfulness have double the antibodies in their blood to other people and this helps boost their immune system and reduce inflammation.”
According to the review in Dermatological Nursing research on patients with psoriasis has found less depression amongst those practising mindfulness. It is thought to be helpful as it can break the vicious cycle of anxiety and depression that makes you miserable and, in turn, your skin worse.
And, according to the same review, doctors think it could even stimulate the areas of the brain which regulate emotion helping you to cope with a distressing condition like psoriasis or acne.