If winter has the blues, then autumn's sure has its doldrums. As soon as Halloween candy hits the shelves, it's off to the races with the hectic haze of the holiday season—cue stress, cue breakouts. Anxiety can suck on a surface level, but according to dermatologist and stress/skin expert Howard Murad, M.D., studies show that stress goes even deeper, releasing neuropathies (nerve dysfunctions) which can damage cellular membrane, break down our connective tissue, and cause a load of other problems which eventually end up on your face. Nothing's worth your skin sanity, so bear these stress management tips in mind whenever you're feeling a little mentally and facially flustered.
When you replace a diet rich in whole foods and grains with highly processed foods, you're essentially giving the stress hormone cortisol a green light to skyrocket. A body in equilibrium needs the right nutrients and even a dose of good fats. "About two-thirds of our brains are composed of fat, and the protective sheath around communicating neurons is 70 percent fat," notes Dr. Murad. Get your share from omega-3 rich salmon, walnuts, flax seed, and olives. And whatever you do, don't skip breakfast—caffeine alone doesn't count.
"There’s an odd duality to being attached to machines that allow us to connect with others around the world in an instant," remarks Dr. Murad. And he's right—the internet is both a blessing and burden, a habit-forming stream of LOLcats and crux of relationships. Keep things in balance, and your skin will follow suit: take time in the week to turn off the phone, have a potluck with your friends, or finally pull out that book you've been aching to read.
We'll never get tired of hearing workout advice. "Exercising regularly nourishes the skin with oxygen while sweating flushes out toxins, and it also improves digestion, metabolism, and endocrine function," says Dr. Murad. We're not asking you to try for a half-marathon or sign up at a fancy gym. Your complexion will immediately reap the benefits of a 20-minute walk, an at-home dance session (highly recommended) or basic resistance training—whatever it takes to get you moving.
Whether utterly trashy television or an indulgent hobby, often times we feel ashamed for satisfying our guilty pleasures—stop that behavior! Life is short and life is fun. Work hard, feel accomplished, and if you want to splurge on that lipstick or get your Real Housewives on? Well, no one's stopping you.