Emotional highs and lows don’t just alter your mood, but your complexion, too. Lisa Oxenham reports on how to nix the impact
Your state of mind plays a key role in your beauty and well-being, which is why it’s crucial to address negative feelings. So, whether you’re feeling stressed, seeing red, or just having a sad day, your emotional – and beauty – detox toolkit awaits…
Anxiety: the detox toolkit
Emotional: When we’re calm we can think clearly, ‘but when we sense danger, our survival brain takes over and our rational brain switches off,’ says Jo Ham, therapist and trainer at the Human Givens Institute. ‘The body floods with adrenalin and the stress hormone cortisol, and we experience a shortness of breath and racing heart.’ Restore calm by resting one hand on your diaphragm and one on your chest. Imagine breathing in a feeling of calm and breathing out negativity. ‘This activates the body’s relaxation response when you’re more likely to keep your rational head on,’ says Ham.
Beauty: ‘Anxiety affects every cell in your body,’ says skincare guru Dr Murad. ‘Adrenal glands work overtime and hormones are exasperating any skin problem you have. Yoga works wonders but, in terms of topical products, be gentle as your skin will be more sensitive.’ Murad’s Rapid Relief Spot Treatment (01), £17, contains salicylic acid to unclog pores and soothe skin. ‘You may notice tiny bumps around your mouth, too,’ says Dr Murad. ‘These are caused by anxiety, but hydrating moisturisers will help.’ Try Darphin Vetiver Stress Relief Detox Oil Mask (02), £45 (Fabled.com). It is infused with vetiver, lavender and marjoram to detoxify and nourish.
Anger: the detox toolkit
Emotional: This is a ‘fight’ not ‘flight’ response, so exercise can help. ‘Take yourself out of that scenario and do something aerobic to burn off the adrenalin,’ advises Ham. And notice where stress builds in your body. ‘If it is in your fist, breathe in and squeeze your fingers together as hard as you can,’ she says. ‘Then, slowly release your fist, stretch up to the sky and bring your arms down as you breathe out. Or, squeeze your thumb and forefinger together while breathing in calm and breathing out negative feelings.’
Beauty: Stress leads to dehydration because you lose intracellular water. ‘You have sweaty palms in times of stress, so what shows up is dryness and fine lines,’ says Dr Murad. Your skin will also be paler due to a dip in oxyhaemoglobin; frown lines will show more and your cheeks will flush. Take the sting out of angry patches with the cactus pear extract in Dermalogica Ultracalming Calm Water Gel (03), £44.50. For a surge of moisture, apply La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum (04), £37, which is full of hyaluronic acid and helps to repair your skin’s barrier.
Sadness: the detox toolkit
Emotional: Don’t try to suppress your emotions. ‘Acknowledge the feeling and breathe to access the rational part of your brain,’ says Ham. Think about what you want to change. If you’re lonely, do you need to join a club, class or group? ‘If confidence is an issue, build yourself up by remembering a time when you achieved something and how great that felt,’ she adds. ‘Make a list of your good qualities; ask a friend to help you and build on this when you can.’ Struggling? Seek professional help.
Beauty: ‘Sadness can lead to bad sleeping patterns, meaning the body isn’t getting an opportunity or the nutrients to repair cells,’ says Dr Murad. ‘Dryness and irritation creeps in and dark circles appear around the eyes.’ He recommends upping your antioxidant levels topically and via food. ‘Snack on walnuts, which are high in amino acids and good fats, and use a facial oil to boost your skin,’ he says. Skinceuticals Serum 10 (05), £78.75, is rich in antioxidant vitamin C, while Elemis Superfood Facial Oil (06), £45 (Fabled.com), is a plant-based blend that feeds skin for a radiant glow.