Healthy skin is a quality that many people seek to help themselves feel better. Because our appearance affects our social interactions, whether we like that to be true or not, it still is a part of our culture. There are many beneficial approaches to healthy skin. Many of them that we read about are centered on working on the skin by applying products to the external skin. We apply sunscreen to protect ourselves from sun damage. We apply lotion to moisturize our skin and keep it from getting to dry or irritated. Sometimes we do facial treatments in order to restore the health of our skin.
All of these methods are valid and positive approaches to skin care. There is one approach, however, many people tend to overlook. Meditation. Meditation is a way to create healthy skin from the inside out. Meditation is the practice of using breath work, chants known as mantras and inner stillness to learn how to give ourselves quiet time. There are many differing forms of meditation that can be done standing, sitting, walking, running, doing yoga. There are also different forms of meditation practices based on different cultures. So if one form of meditation does not feel right to you, keep searching until you discover one that is right for you.
How does meditation affect our skin?
A lot of the damage that our skin goes through is a result of the stress of daily living. The modern world, although advanced technologically, can still hold a great deal of stress from home, to work, to children. Commonly known effects of stress are the harm it has on our kidneys or our heart. Stress also has damaging effects on our skin as well. When we are under a great deal of stress, our bodies release a stress hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol, although healthy in small amounts, when dumped into our bloodstream in large amounts begins to raise our blood sugar levels. The increase of blood sugar affects the collagen cells and creates wrinkles. The increased amount of cortisol in our system can also increase the oils in our skin and create acne as well. This is where meditation comes into play. Meditation slows down our breath, slows our heart rate and quiets our insides. This helps our hearts, our minds, our kidneys and it also helps our skin. Well-known esthetician, Kate Somerville (http://www.katesomerville.com) writes about the connection between meditation and appearance: “I became convinced about the power of meditation after I witnessed significant changes in the skin of several of my clients who practice it. It really made me aware that I may be able to help someone topically or assist her in altering her diet, but if I can’t help her find a way to stop her brain craziness, she’s simply not going to look her best.” Try adding a meditation practice into your life and start seeing the difference your healthy insides help your healthy outsides!
- Zhou, S., Li, D., Zhou, Y., & Cao, J. (2012). The skin function: A factor of anti-metabolic syndrome. Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome, 4(15). Retrieved February 3, 2015, from http://www.dmsjournal.com/content/4/1/15
- Jennifer Daubenmier, Jean Kristeller, Frederick M. Hecht, et al., “Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2011, Article ID 651936, 13 pages, 2011. doi:10.1155/2011/651936