Tips and tricks for keeping your skin happy in our current climate.
Why is your skin more susceptible to acne right now?
This is a stressful time! Your world has likely been turned upside down. It is a time of change, there are so many current events that might have you feeling scared, uneasy, stressed out, sad, angry, frustrated, happy, thankful, worried, and more. You might even feel all of those feelings every. single. day.
Our skin is sensitive to hormonal changes, and guess what.... when we are stressed out we release stress hormones! These hormone shifts in your body may be a cause of surprise visits from acne, especially those big, painful pimples. OUCH!
When we are stressed, we naturally crave simple sugars, the easiest food to digest. Our bodies perceive all stress by responding with our natural instincts. That means we enter a "FIGHT/ FLIGHT" state. When our body enters that response, we shift to prepare to fight or run away. It is a state of protection and the body focuses on the priorities of fighting or fleeing. Digesting food is not a priority to fight or run. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are the fastest source of energy and we instinctually crave them in times of stress because they are the fastest to digest. Our body responds to all stress the same way, whether we are stuck in traffic or being chased by a tiger. Acknowledging your cravings and consciously choosing the foods that you get your fuel from is as important as managing stress.
Are you eating out more? This a wonderful way to support your community and the places that you love. It is also important to keep balance in mind. A lot of take out foods may be higher in salt or sugar than foods made at home. If you are eating out for lunch, consider making dinner a home.
Surviving on snacks? Raise your hand if your snacking has increased 10x since we starting staying at home and distancing from each other. [Me me me!!] Let's face it, we are home with easy access to our fridge and pantry. We are stressed and craving simple sugars. We are bored and turning to food for entertainment. We are cooking and baking comfort foods; banana bread, sour dough, cookies, whipped dalgona coffee, and more.
Long term mask wearing creates a humid environment around your nose, lips, and chin. The humid, warm air opens your pores which can make your skin more susceptible for dirt and other 'ickies' to enter your pores.
Friction caused by wearing masks of different textures, taking them on and off, and having them rub against your skin can also cause mirco-tears in the skin, opening more areas to dirt and grime.
Many of us are wearing re-useable masks, but are we washing them?? A dirty mask increases the likelihood of dirt, grime, or 'ickies' into our skin.
What is your mask made of? Lots of fabric or material can be processed with chemicals that may irritate the skin.
So what are some ways we can beat mask-ne?
Meditation is a powerful stress relieving tool. There are so many awesome meditation apps and videos to be found online. Using an app or video as a guide can help your mind to settle and learn to release. Headspace and Tara Brach's site offer excellent guided meditations.
Journaling can be simple. Just start writing down your thoughts and feelings. This can help you get things out of your head and your body. If you are struggling to write your thoughts and feelings, some journal prompts are; write down 3 things you are grateful for today, write 3 emotions you are feeling today, briefly describe 3 people you are glad are in your life.
Exercising and moving your body can calm your mind and soothe your body. Making a point to move your body every day is beneficial in helping you to manage stress levels. Exercise causes your body to release hormones that make you feel good. Daily movement can be simple; a walk or some stretching. There are also lots of great online fitness apps and videos. Nike Fitness App and Fitness Blender on YouTube have many free resources available.
Talk with someone every day. Make a point of calling and writing to friends and family. Safely get together with a friend. Talking about your thoughts and feelings can help you to let go of them. Ask someone if you can vent to them.
Chiropractic care helps to release the stress that we hold within our body. This can be stress from emotional causes such as worrying and fear, physical causes such as poor posture and sitting to use technology more, or chemical stress from not ideal food or environmental factors. Studies have found that chiropractic care can help to reduce stress and improve quality of life.
CHOOSE NOURISHING FOODS
Add a green vegetable to every meal. Veggies like spinach, cabbage, kale, or chard can easily be added to meals. Toss them in an egg scramble, puree them in a smoothie, or chop them for a salad!
Shop the outer edges of the grocery stores; this is where the fresh fruits, veggies, and proteins are available. By limiting what you purchase in the middle aisles, you avoid a lot of the overly processed items that have a lower nutritional value.
Pick healthy snacks to take home. If your snacking has increased, don't buy what you don't want to be consuming. Choose to bring home snacks like extra fruit or veggies.
CARE FOR YOUR SKIN
Washing your face daily can help to remove the dirt and grime that collected from your daily activities. Using lukewarm water helps to gently open pores for cleaning. Choose products that do not increase your toxic load. The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) can help you to find products that are cleaner and safer for both you and the environment. Beautycounter products are what I use and they are a company that I trust to continue to make their products cleaner and safer. They also are working hard to change legislature and laws to demand that we all have access to cleaner and safer products and to hold companies accountable for the ingredients that use and how they are sourced.
Don't wear make-up on the lower half of your face. If the mask if going to cover the bottom of our faces, then don't dress it up! This will allow your skin to sweat and naturally release junk during the day, which can help to keep pores from clogging.
If you do wear make-up on the lower half of your face, use the double cleanse method to wash your face at night. Double cleansing involves washing your face twice; once to remove make up even after a make-up remover and the second time to cleanse your skin and pores.
Cleanse your reusable masks regularly. A quick hand wash with soap and water is effective to clean your mask. Many cloth masks are thin enough to dry within hours. Once again, choose a soap to limit your toxic load. The mask will go on your face, a sensitive area that requires a sensitive soap. The face wash you cleanse your face with can also cleanse your mask! Additionally, since you will be breathing through your mask, I recommend choosing a soap without chemical fragrance added.
If you are unable to wash with soap and water, an alcohol based hand sanitizer can be sprayed on the inside and outside for a quick sanitize. Allow the mask to dry fully before wearing again. Once again, be mindful of ingredients when you are using a product that you will place on your skin and will breath in.
If using single-use masks, please dispose of responsibly. It is recommended to cut the ear straps before throwing away so that wildlife cannot become tangled in the straps.
Mask material. Some masks may be processed in chemicals that can irritate your skin. Wash re-useable masks before wearing to help to avoid exposure and irritation.