If you were to sit down and make a list of all the things that could affect your skin, would stress be on it? While we all know that diet, a poor cleansing routine, and not using the right products can wreck your complexion, the one factor that many of us forget to consider is the effect that constant freaking out is a skin killer. Which is why taking a minute to center and just breathe isn’t just good for the people around you (really, nobody likes a stress case) but it can help you save face, too. We’re big fans of meditation around here.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Experts completely agree that meditation can have an incredible effect on a good number of things, not the least of which is your complexion. “Meditation is great for everything,” enthuses Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. “There’s nothing like it. For starters, it settles you so you’re in a state of deep relaxation and you’re breathing. Meditation helps every single cell in the body, and it helps your skin.
Stress worsens the conditions that harm the skin, so if you’re in a meditative situation that can help remove those factors, you’re already doing something to help your skin conditions,” she goes on to explain. “You’re also breathing deeply, so you’re adding oxygen to the skin, which is key to help boost the actions of the cells to act normally and with great health.” Dr. Graf loves meditation for lessening skin conditions so much that she honestly couldn’t find any reason not to do it. “I can’t say enough about meditation. It’s not just limited to the skin: meditation helps calms the body and the mind and it can improve the overall health and condition of your entire being. It’s effects aren’t just limited to the skin: it decreases your blood pressure, it reduces the body’s need for oxygen because your intake increases with each breath. It’s really amazing for you.”
The good news is that you can start meditating right now, wherever you are. Taking a minute to center your mind and focusing on your breathing (which you can slow by focusing on each breath as it comes in and out to the exclusion of other things) is a practice that can help regulate your body within mere seconds of starting, and it doesn’t require a candle or a quiet room. “You don’t need to spend a lot of time doing it,” says Dr. Graf, who’s been avidly practicing meditation for decades.
“First of all, a yoga class is a moving meditation, so find a yoga class nearby and pop in. Yoga is amazing for your skin.” She also suggests sitting for ten minutes and focusing on your breath, starting one minute at a time. Not sure what to do or if you can sit that long? “There are plenty of guided meditations you can buy online and via iTunes from places like The Chopra Center that are perfect. You can listen to them anywhere; they’re perfect if you want to practice anywhere you happen to be.”
Calm your mind and soothe your skin? Sounds good to us. If lowering our stress levels can help us mellow out AND improve our bodies, we’re all about it.