Stop Stressing: It Messes with Your Skin!

by Joanne Chen

Chris CraymerChris CraymerRelax. Seriously. Stress -- even the energizing kind -- can sap glow and bring on breakouts and other ugly issues. One secret? Devote one workout a week to your mind.

Essentially, you're strength training your brain. Meditation and yoga don't just relieve stress, they also buffer against it, reveals a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine. It compared yoga novices with regular practitioners of Hatha yoga (which involves breath control and meditation). They found that the beginners had 41 percent higher levels of a stress-related protein in the blood than the pros. And novices were five times as likely to have higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that may be linked to acne and conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

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The De-stress Rx: "A few minutes a day of meditating is all you need to build neural connections that say, 'Hey, calm down,'" says Nina Smiley, Ph.D., coauthor of The Three Minute Meditator. Download the Buddhify app ($3), which offers three-minute guided meditations for when you're walking, at the gym, at home or traveling. No cheesy music, no chanting; it simply directs your focus to inhales and exhales and helps still your mind.

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The Beauty Boost: Treat your skin to something soothing, too. Soak a washcloth in whole milk and rest it on your face for 10 minutes, or try a colloidal oatmeal bath (like Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment, $7); both have anti-inflammatories that instantly relieve redness, itchiness and severe dryness, Dr. Wechsler says.

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