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Breathe your way to better skin – Deep breathing techniques to banish stress

If you’re feeling stressed out, do you start to break out?

The release of stress hormones can have a detrimental effect on the skin, leading to blemishes and wrinkles. Both anecdotal evidence and scientific studies alike show that the mind and skin are connected, in a number of ways. For example, acne may be a by-product of stress due to the release of the hormone cortisol, which increased oil production. As a result, finding new ways to relax can do more than just boost your health – it can also leave you with cleaner, clearer skin! 

Deep breathing is one easy option to try. It’s completely free, requiring nothing more than a set of lungs and a few minutes to relax.


Deep Breathing Benefits

There are a number of benefits to deep breathing. Here are just a few: 

  • More restful sleep, which can reduce the appearance of under-eye circles

  • A more positive, upbeat mood, causing an inner glow

  • Reduction in stress-related chemicals like cortisol which can cause uneven skin tone

  • Increase in oxygen levels in the blood, reducing free radicals

Getting Started 

When we’re busy and stressed out, we may have a tendency to practice shallow breathing. Stop for a moment to become aware of where you’re drawing your breaths in. Are you drawing them in from the chest? Then you aren’t getting as much oxygen as you could. Breathe slowly, deeply, and mindfully through the nose. Put a hand on your stomach as you breathe in and out, and you should feel it rise and fall as you draw breaths from deep within. Five minutes a day of this simple task will increase your blood’s oxygenation levels, feeding skin with the nutrients it needs to become supple and rejuvenated. You’ll also find this type of strategy taught in counselling courses at for clinical practitioners, because deep breathing forces you to slow down, reduce your heart rate, and combat spells of anxiety. 

Yoga Inversions 

Breathing deeply while practicing yoga inversions is another practice that can boost circulation and leave you with a rosy glow. If you’re not yet able to hold shoulder stands, you can simply put a pillow beneath your hips and place your legs up the wall. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for up to ten minutes, increasing blood flow to the upper part of your body and giving skin a good dose of oxygen. 

Simple Techniques to Try 

Are yoga inversions too complicated? Here are two super easy breath counts to practice. To start, you can try “Sama Vritti,” a breathing technique used in yoga. You’ll need to inhale for four counts, then exhale for four counts. This is particularly effective when performed before bed, lulling the body into a natural rhythm. 

For a bit more of a challenge, try “Nadi Shodhana,” or channel cleaning breath. With this technique, you can hold your right thumb over the right nostril, inhaling deeply through the left. You then switch fingers and exhale through the right. Alternate breaths, breathing in through one nostril and out through the other. Unlike the first technique, this one can be used to energize the body. 

Taking the time to simply slow down and breathe mindfully can have startling effects on stress levels, which is bound to shine through in your face!

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