"The mind and skin are connected on many different levels; A lot of nerve endings are connected to the skin, which wraps around the organs, so as emotions are played out neurologically, they can be expressed through the skin just as stress can be expressed through gastrointestinal symptoms, increased anxiety, or hypertension."  -  Karen Mallin, PsyD, an instructor in the departments of psychiatry & behavioral sciences and dermatology & cutaneous surgery of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami (quoted from WebMD).

That project at work is due tomorrow.  Your children have science projects to complete.  And you forgot to go grocery shopping.  

Life can be awfully brutal sometimes.  When stress strikes it can display not only mentally but with your skin.  Our skin is an organ, the largest organ of our bodies, and it is effected by cortisol just like our hearts and brains.  Cortisol is the chemical our brains produce when we feel stressed and that chemical reaction in the body can signal to the skin to produce more oil. More oil = more breakouts.  

Stress can also cause the epidermis to lose some of it's lipid barrier, the skin's defense against bacteria and free radicals.  When the lipids in our skin decrease due to stress it allows the skin cells to shrink and cause micro-gaps.  These penetrable gaps can allow bacteria into deeper layers of the skin causing a variety of skin conditions.The rise of these stress triggered chemicals plus bacteria that shouldn't be in the body can upset the balance of other hormones and may lead to more severe skin problems that were benign - Rosacea flare-ups, Rashes, Psoriasis, Eczema, Cold Sores, even Hives.  

"A study completed at Yale University, people with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, were more likely to have gone through stressful life events during the years leading up to their diagnosis than people who did not have skin cancer." -Jeanette Graf, M.D.

Compounding the problem, when we are stressed we may skip our skincare routines, fall asleep in our makeup or forget to put sunblock on... all of which will only lead to more skin problems!

While we may not always be able to prevent stress in our lives, here are 8 ways we can help to keep stress low, spirits high and our skin beautiful!

1. Drink water, not coffee or soda which are diuretics and deprive your body of the water it needs.  For a quick fix use a product with Tamarind Seed Extract that helps to hydrate and nourish your skin.  
2. Regular exercise helps to keep the balance of hormones in our bodies in check.  Go for a walk- even for just 10 minutes.
3. Spend a few extra minutes in the shower practicing deep breathing and allow your body to relax.
4. Carve time out of your busy schedule to ensure you get between 7-8 hours of sleep. Your body needs this time to recharge!
5. Always remove your makeup.  Even if all you do is take a baby wipe to your face, make sure you clear away all the grime and free-radicals from your day away from your face to keep your complexion clear!
6. Ditch the carbs for veggies.  Replace that bag of chips you ate at lunch today with some carrot sticks or broccoli.  The natural vitamins and anti-oxidants in veggies helps to keep those crazy hormones balanced and helps to keep your gut bacteria stable.  Avocados are my favorite way to eat a healthy, veggie breakfast and reduce redness in my skin.
7. Talk to your doctor about your vitamin B and D levels.  Adding more of these essential vitamins to your body can help to boost your energy and are also great for your skin! Adding vitamin rich products to your skincare routine will boost your complexion!
8. Find your zen.  Take a yoga class, go for a hike or find an indoor pool to do laps in.  Doing activities we love without pressure to be first or meet a deadline, gives us an opportunity to reset and bring those stress levels back down.