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3 Simple Ways To Reduce Stress & Inflammation In The Skin

Alexandra Engler
Author:
January 10, 2023
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
woman putting on skincare
Image by Ani Dimi | Stocksy
January 10, 2023

"Our bodies and skin are what carries our spirit through this world, so they are to be loved, appreciated, and cared for," says brand founder of Tatcha and skin care expert Vicky Tsai. "Our skin is a wondrous organ. It's the first line of our immune system. It can smell. It can keep time—it knows whether it's daytime or nighttime. It feels the sun's radiation. It protects you. It senses things, such as touch, so it knows whether you're being cuddled or cut. It's a mirror of your emotions. It's literally your second mind."

In this episode of mindbodygreen's beauty podcast Clean Beauty School, I chat with Tsai all about the mind-skin connection. Recently, Tatcha released a new report about the status of folks' relationships with their skin care and self-care routines, how stress affected their complexion, and more. The findings are fascinating—for example, 47% of the 841 women they surveyed regarded their skin care routines as another source of stress in their day, and 25% said that physical appearance was a main source of stress. 

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So, throughout the episode, we discuss why this might be happening—and ways to help folks take back control of their routines, skin, and happiness. Not only will this improve your overall well-being, but in the process it can reduce inflammation in the skin—resulting in a happier, healthier complexion. 

Here, three ways Tsai practices it in her own life. 

Connect to nature.

We know that the simple act of being in nature has a profound effect on us. Tsai notes that the brand works with immunologist, author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, and one of the world's foremost experts on forest bathing, Qing Li, M.D., Ph.D. Through Li's research, we know that being in forests can "reduce blood pressure, lower stress, improve cardiovascular and metabolic health, lower blood sugar levels, improve concentration of memory, lift depression, improve pain thresholds, improve energy, boost the immune system," she notes.

And all of these benefits "would last for six weeks and are cumulative, so every time you go back it keeps adding on." 

Use skin superfoods.

The foundation of healthy skin is a balanced lifestyle—and using the right products and ingredients is part of that. One way Tsai recommends doing this is using anti-inflammatory superfoods. 

"For example, green tea, rice, and seaweed are superfoods. These are basically fire extinguishers so the body can shut down inflammation pretty quickly," she says. "And inflammation is something that you can actually see overnight results. You may not completely heal it overnight, especially if you haven't gotten down to the root cause yet, but you can see results."

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Avoid the urge to go on autopilot in your routines.

According to a Harvard study, for most folks, we spend 46% of our waking moments on autopilot. And if we are more intentional and mindful about our habits, research shows that it can improve our mental health. 

Take, for example, the simple act of washing your face: "Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and turn your bathroom into a personal sanctuary. Then when you go through each step, just put a little intention into it," she says. "Cleansing can be an act of letting go. So when I'm massaging in my face cleanser, I am thinking about all the things I'm holding on to that are no longer serving me. I imagine them literally melting away and letting go. For me, it's often fear. For the last few years, a bit of anger too. Just let it go."

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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.