Toolkit – INHALE & EXHALE YOUR WAY TO GLOWING SKIN
Words by Emily Coogan
Throw away your expensive night cream and cancel your Accutane prescriptions because according to some skincare specialists, you can breathe your way to better skin.
Now, I don’t actually recommend turning your back on your existing skincare regime – especially if it works for you – but I am here to give you the tea on how breath work can be a positive addition to your daily routine. I know how it sounds, but there’s actually some science to back it up.
Speaking to The Cut, trusted dermatologist and the author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin Dr. Whitney Bowe confirmed the connection between good skin and breath work. Ultimately, she noted, deep breathing lowers the body’s stress response and therefore has a knock-on effect to our skin.
Stress is a nasty emotional response that wreaks all kinds of havoc on our bodies. Prolonged worry can even cause skin to appear older earlier, encourage the overproduction of sebum and even leave skin both oily and dehydrated – a deadly combo that can promote skin conditions like acne and eczema. Slowing down your nervous system and lowering stress levels can help to control the release of cortisol, lower inflammation and slow the breakdown of tissue such as collagen.
What about breathing?
Sadly, intentionally breathing in and out won’t solve all of your life problems but it can help to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and allow you to feel – and even physically appear – less vexed.
Taking time to meditatively breathe can trigger something known as a relaxation response, a term popularised by Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School, which is where the body sends signals and releases chemicals to relieve muscle tension and quicken blow flow to the brain. This phenomenon not only encourages you to feel more Zen, but also prevents the body from morphing your mental stress into physical inflammation.
How to do it?
Especially important for those of us dealing with trauma or prolonged stress, some dermatologists recommend their patients twice-daily breathing exercises. According to Dr. Bowe, doing so can garner positive results to skin texture in less than a week.
Such exercises can look like two deep inhales through the mouth — first into the stomach, then into the chest — followed by one long exhale out the mouth, repeating the pattern for as long as you need to feel a sense of calm.
This painless, free, simple and backed by science skincare method is not only a perfect opportunity to connect and ground yourself, but an easy way to achieve glowing skin. Cheers to breathing!
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