Maybe Your Lifestyle is to Blame for your Skin Problems!

Cosmetic and pharmaceutical stores boast numerous shelves of acne and rash treatments, and antihistamine drugs. When confronted with ugly skin problems, they are often times our first resort. Unknown to us, our stressful lifestyles may just be the culprit, and changing them might just be a more effective cure in comparison.

On Lifestyle

How so? Stress interferes with our bodies’ hormonal balance. It triggers the production of more cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones. These hormones make the sebaceous glands in our skin to produce more oil than our skin needs, consequently leading to an oily skin that is harder to manage, and that is more prone to acne. Stress has also been known to worsen psoriasis and eczema, skin rashes that do not have well known causes.

An unhealthy skin increases our stress levels, but high stress levels worsen the health of our skins! Not managing stress levels, thus, sets in motion a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Still, with the demands of our careers and families, it is not true that we can live stress free lives. The secret therefore, is to manage stress to levels that are not detrimental to our health. Below are a few steps on how you can better manage stress:

Define a sense of purpose
Having a sense of purpose is reported to increase ones lifespan. Defining the direction you want your personal life, your career, and your role in your family to take, helps you organize your priorities to fit this direction. As a result, you are happy with the compromises and the choices you have to make, because you understand why you are making them. For instance, while the demands of a sick parent might prevent Patel from putting in the long hours required for a promotion, Ishani might opt to take her parent to a sick home in order to put those long hours. Both colleagues have made choices, albeit different choices. How happy they are with their choices depends on whether these choices reflect their defined purpose and their set priorities. If these choices do reflect their purpose, Patel will manage the disappointment of not getting the promotion better, and Ishani will receive the criticisms of a disapproving family well.

Embrace Self Care and Self Love
Love and care for yourself! And no, it must not amount to selfishness, or to narcissism. It only means doing for yourself all the good things you do to others. You give your time to others. Likewise take the time to do the things you love regularly. You are feeling lethargic and low in energy on a given day? Get a manicure! Watch your favorite movie in a theatre with friends! Some people wrong you all the time but you are still friends. Forgive yourself for your flaws. Strive to be a better person, and when you fall short, forgive yourself still. When we take care of ourselves, when we accept and love ourselves, we are in a better position to love and care for others, and to do it with little stress.

Exercise and eat healthy
Everyone talks about this one, so I will not dwell on it. But as I work on it myself, I have gradually built a positive attitude. Not so long ago, whenever I heard eat healthy I juxtaposed dull green veggies and dull brown whole grains against delicious gold and beige cheeseburgers and fries. I have learnt that it doesn’t have to be that way. Experiment with delicious recipes of veggie stews and salads, season them with your favorite sauces and spices, and the world of healthy doesn’t have to be dull green or brown.

Turn your friends into work-out buddies, and you will be looking forward to each of your work out sessions to get a fill of your friends’ gossip and laughter, and of course to get healthy while you are at it.

Address stressors head on
Sometimes you are stressed, and overwhelmed without knowing the actual cause. Meditation and introspection might help. Examine yourself; your routines, your family’s and career’s demands; your social circles. What has changed recently? What are you almost fed up with? What can you do about it? If there is something you can do, by all means do it. Talk to your unresponsive colleague at work. Tell your girlfriend that you don’t want to talk about her marital shenanigans at lunch. Organize your clattered but demanding schedule according to priorities.

If you can’t do anything about your stressor, define a coping method. You might not be able to do a thing about a sick family member. Look after them. When you take a break, embrace mindfulness in order to relax. Walk down the block. Focus on the present; enjoy your surroundings; take in the smells, look and see the colors, listen and hear the music of the wind.

About the Author  
Nkatha Gitonga is a rising senior at Harvard interested in society and health. She currently works as a Marketing Assistant for Argopoint LLC, a Legal Department Management firm in Boston.

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1 comment:

    *Don't use to much foundation
    *Wash your hands before you clean your face.
    *Clean your face twice a day with hot/warm water and avoid bar soap.
    *Don't avoid the sun, but also don't get to much of it.
    *Make sure you don't touch your face to much.
    *Don't pop pimples you already have


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