Stress takes its toll on us in many ways: health, sleep, depression and digestive issues, just to name a few. But did you know that stress can wreak havoc on our skin, too? Negative effects of stress on skin include increased oil production (which means breaking out), psoriasis flare-ups, rashes, itching, redness because of capillary expansion, and dullness due to slower skin cell turnover.

Top stressors in today’s overworked, over scheduled and competitive world include money and work issues, family problems, the economy, and ironically, health. We can’t get rid of our jobs or families, but we can take steps to combat stress by taking a proactive approach. Here are a few tips on how to handle stress so your physical and psychological health (not to mention your skin’s appearance!) improve.

  1. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Burning the midnight oil does your skin no favors. With 7-8 hours of sleep, skin can recover, stay balanced and properly absorb the products from your nighttime routine. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing!
  2. Take a timeout and breathe! Try to take time out everyday from your hectic schedule, whether that means 20 minutes in the morning or evening to meditate or whether it means using your lunch to take a brisk walk everyday. Remember to breathe deeply to oxygenate your body properly. Just the act of taking ten deep breaths a day can help destress you.
  3. Figure out exactly what stresses you out and try to find solutions or ways to work around the stressor. Do you stress out making breakfast for your family before heading out to work? Have everything ready the night before. Does your mother-in-law’s not-so-helpful comments stress you out? Just learn to smile and say, “Uh huh,” rather than debate.
  4. Drink enough water. Not enough water intake contributes to dehydration, which contributes to stress which contributes to bad skin! Aim for the golden standard of eight glasses a day, with extra if you work out that day.

A little mindfulness about what stresses us out, while taking these steps to combat stress’s effects adds up to better health and better skin.