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How Your Mental Health affects your Skin and Gut Health

 

The Skin(ny) on Mood, Mind and Nutrition

How on earth is mental health connected with skin health? It’s a good question, with a surprising answer. As many psychologists will now attest, our emotional health has a large impact on the health and quality of our skin. Just look at someone blushing from embarrassment — evidence that the skin is responsive to our thoughts and feelings. The biggest connection appears to be stress, although the mechanisms behind that are far more complicated. The take-home message is that when your mind and diet are in good form, your skin should reflect that.

A gut feeling

It’s well known that some gut-related health conditions worsen with stress, and stress often triggers breakouts (due to it's negative impacts on hormonal balance and immunity) so you can see now how mental health, gut health, acne breakouts and many other health conditions are interrelated. Many studies recognise that the gut microbiome — the bacterial colonies that live within the intestines — are closely linked with the brain. Around 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced by gut bacteria and conversely, it’s been demonstrated that psychological stress can negatively impact microbiome activity. There’s a delicate balance between all body functions, including skin, mood and gut health, and if the see-saw tips too much to one side, there’s a noticeable effect on all areas involved. Of course, gut health is also heavily influenced by diet. Alcohol, high fat, high sugar and processed foods all help to feed the “stress” influenced bacteria, while a whole food, high-fibre diet is more likely to calm things down. Dehydration is also a factor, with the gut requiring an adequate amount of water per day for normal function. It’s no surprise then to discover that a poor diet will affect your mood as well as your skin, and that craving hot chips or chocolate can be blamed on either your emotional state or the bacterial colonies taking over your intestines.

 

 

Direct impact

Many sufferers of acne, eczema or psoriasis will observe that high levels of stress will aggravate their skin condition. Some people have even experienced a stress rash; a form of hives that shows up over the body in response to high levels of stress. Diet and nutrition will play a role here, however fatigue and mental strain can have an equally large impact on skin health. When sleep patterns are disturbed, mood is low, or you feel you're running on adrenaline, your skin will reflect that. When you’re healthy and happy, people say that you’re glowing, but stressed skin will appear sallow or blemished.

 

The good news for stress heads is that there are many herbs and nutrients that can assist in managing stress. Ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic herb known for its long-term calming effect, while Siberian or Panax Ginseng are useful for boosting vitality and increasing resistance to stress, hence we included these powerful adaptogens in our comprehensive superfood complex. Vitamin B5 and other B vitamins are also incredibly useful for managing stress responses, and the power of a good quality supplement in this case should never be underestimated.

 

Mind-body balance

 

Science and the microbiome have proven that mind-body balance is a very real, tangible thing. But while it’s one thing to acknowledge the importance of personal equilibrium, it’s another to put it into practice when your stress levels are through the roof and your face is breaking out big time. Try these tips to bring back some balance between your mind and skin:

  • Drink more water (and avoid or limit caffeinated and sugary drinks).
  • Try mini-meditations or short breathing exercises.
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables (and reduce your meat and dairy intake) - if you struggle to eat enough nutrient dense foods, consider taking a high quality broad-spectrum superfood complex.
  • Use herbs such as Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng or Panax Ginseng to help manage stress and boost inner harmony and vitality.
  • Include prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes in your diet, particularly if you have used oral antibiotics for acne.
  • Get moving! Exercise of any form helps relieve constipation and improves mood.
  • Ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin B5 and co-factors to optimise skin health and treat and prevent breakouts - those of us who are prone to breakouts have higher requirements of certain nutrients beyond what you can get from a diet alone.
Healthy skin and minds both require ongoing care. There’s no magic switch for ongoing balance, but paying attention to your nutritional requirements and stress triggers can make a huge difference in both your mood and your skin health. By taking care of what you put into and on your body, you’ll be well on your way to a happy glow. SHOP VALUE KITS NOW

About the Author: Judy Cheung-Wood

SkinB5™ was founded in 2006 by Australian entrepreneur, Judy Cheung-Wood. Growing up, Judy spent endless time with her grandfather who was a chemist and skincare manufacturer. Even as a young girl, she shared his passion for natural ingredients – and always dreamed of developing a natural skincare range in his honour. First launched as an online only business, skinB5™ is now widely available in retail and dermatology channels in Australia and globally. Judy is very passionate about skincare and love sharing her expert knowledge with others.

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