Moments that move us can be simple or grand. Generously tipping wait staff at a restaurant, smiling at a coworker, listening to a street musician, talking with a stranger, eating something with the perfect taste and texture, watching a bird migration, looking down from a mountainside, laughing with a friend, receiving a postcard, gazing into the eyes of someone we love. With each moment that moves us our body reacts. Experiencing many good moments has rewards for your health and skin.
Fall in love
When feeling love the body experiences a physiological process that produces the hormone oxytocin also known as the attachment hormone. When oxytocin levels are high, the body may produce less cortisol, a stress hormone that can increase oil production in the skin glands, leading to acne breakouts and clogged pores. Oxytocin is known to reduce some inflammatory processes. When the body contains more oxytocin, your skin may show more glow and less irritation. Go ahead, fall in love.
Your body gets excited during physical activity such as while exercising, during a hot shower or having sex, but it also responds to internal excitement. Reading a poem, admiring a painting, attending a performance can all excite the same kind of response. The capillaries in your skin dilate giving a smooth, rosy, well-hydrated look to your face.
Skin does not differentiate between types of stress whether it be physical, environmental, emotional or psychological. The body views stress as a kind of attack. To defend itself it creates inflammatory cells that can trigger a flare-up in skin conditions. These cells may break down collagen, a protein that helps keep skin smooth and strong, and may contribute to decreased levels of hyaluronic acid. The natural fight-or-flight response associated with stress increases adrenaline and cortisol which can dry skin and reduce its ability to retain moisture. The body directs blood away from the skin and to your muscles. Too much cortisol weakens the immune system and enlarges blood vessels which can enhance dark circles under the eyes.
Find ways to reduce and release stress. Exercise, meditation and love can help most people feel less stress.
Add pleasure, not pain
Sadness can cause your blood vessels to restrict, casting a paler than normal look to your skin. Crying can cause your face to puff up and salty tears can dehydrate your skin. Seek out pleasure in whatever way is best for you. Invite a friend and share a moment together. The bond you feel will boost your spirits and your oxytocin levels.
Moments that move us are important to experience every day not just for our psychological and emotional well-being, but for our skin as well. When your lover says “Your beautiful” on Valentine’s Day, allow the compliment to flush through your body. Your skin will naturally respond with a blush prettier than roses.