If you’ve practiced meditation, you know that the alternative healing practice is not only helpful when it comes to providing relief to mental ailments such as anxiety and depression, but also physical conditions like high blood pressure, menopause, and even cancer. The truth is meditation reduces stress. And if you know anything about stress (and most people do), it can create big problems in your life.
One of the biggest problems, at least for those going through puberty, is acne. A frustrating and at times shameful condition, the reasons for acne are as diverse as the people who have it. One thing can be said, however, stress doesn’t help.
This recent Huffington Post takes a look at acne and other skin conditions. The article highlights how stress is a big contributor to those nasty little bumps and how dermatologists are turning more and more toward meditation as part of their acne prevention regiments.
Dr. Fried explained the complex relationship between stress/distress and the skin at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting 2011 in New York, according to Newswise. “It is important to consider the biological response that happens when a person experiences stress,” they noted. “Neuropeptides, the chemicals released by skin’s nerve endings, are the skin’s first line of defense from infection and trauma. When responding to protect the skin, neuropeptides can create inflammation and an uncomfortable skin sensation, such as numbness, itching, sensitivity or tingling. However, stressful situations can cause neuropeptides to be inappropriately released, which can lead to a flare of skin conditions.”
Those same neuropeptides can travel to the brain and disrupt the chemicals that regulate our emotions (including “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine) causing further stress and setting a vicious cycle into motion.
“In my practice, I find that patients with chronic skin conditions tend to withdraw from normal, everyday activities…when you are withdrawn and have more time alone, it can make your symptoms seem more pronounced and you can end up feeling worse,” Dr. Fried says.
Dermatologists now recommend incorporating stress management techniques into a dermatologic treatment regimen, including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, hypnosis, tai chi, yoga, and antidepressants. They also believe that these techniques can help patients feel empowered and better comply with the treatment plans for their condition.
Read more on using meditation to decrease stress and prevent acne here.