How to keep your skin safe from the effects of stress

Advice from the experts

Anyone who’s been stressed knows how it can effect your skin. It might get drier, oiler, break out, flake, or just hurt. But not matter what, it’s not the skin you want. So what’s there to do?

Well first, you have to fight the stress. We talk about this a lot for a good reason – the more you can reduce your stress, the healthier you’ll be.

But beyond just reducing stress, there are other things you can try to keep your body, your mind, and your skin healthy no matter what life throws at you.

1: Eliminate Bad Carbs

Start by eliminating all bad carbs from your diet. That includes anything that contains simple sugars such as foods made with white flour, processed snacks, white potatoes, etc. Monday through Friday try to eliminate anything in grain form, even the good whole-grain carbs, and stick to lean proteins, fruits and vegetables instead.

Dr. Ashton’s Secret Weapon: Wheat berries

On the weekends, make wheat berries – whole-wheat kernels – your go-to carbs. These healthy whole grains, available in hard and soft forms – are versatile, high-in-protein, complex carbohydrates that will keep you full and help you maintain a high energy level throughout the day. Add them to salads, cereal or mix with dry fruit for a healthy snack.

2. Add 2 Protein-rich Snacks Per Day

When you’re hit with mid-morning or mid-afternoon cravings, you need to fill your tank with good fuel to zap energy lulls. Many people reach for chips or other empty carbs at snack time, but these foods cause energy spikes that result in crashes and fatigue. The key to staying full and regulating your energy level is to make protein part of both your meals and snacks.

Dr. Ashton’s Secret Weapon: Plant-based Protein Powder

Add plant-based protein powders such those made from hemp or flaxseed to shakes and enjoy during mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack time. Create a veggie-based shake with frozen spinach or go sweeter by adding frozen strawberries.

3. The Power of Purple Foods

At every meal, add some purple foods such as plums, eggplants or purple cabbage – all of which are packed with powerful antioxidants that improve your overall health.

Dr. Ashton’s Secret Weapon: Purple Potatoes

Purple potatoes, now more readily available in grocery stores, have been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

4. Avoid Packaged Foods

So many of us reach for packaged snack foods when we’re busy or stressed out even though we know they’re not healthy choices. Follow this rule of thumb: If it contains ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t eat it.

Dr. Ashton’s Secret Weapon: “To-go” Containers

To avoid munching on something that comes out of a snack bag, buy portable containers with a couple of different compartments. At breakfast time, pack your protein-rich snacks, some purple foods, etc. You’ll avoid purchasing convenience foods at work, save time, and also lose weight.

In sum, remember to stick to the plan Monday through Friday. In addition to enjoying your wheat berries on the weekends, reward yourself in other ways such as indulging your sweet tooth with a piece of dark chocolate. The reason this plan works is that it’s sustainable and allows you to also have some flexibility.
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Topical treatments for stressed out skin

What you put in your body to fight stress matters, but it’s helpful to be careful about what you put ON it as well.

These are a couple of great, completely natural suggestions to give your skin the boost it needs.


Oatmeal has been used to soothe skin irritations for over 4,000 years! The secret is in oatmeal’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compounds called avenanthramides. Basically, that means that oatmeal will help take the redness out, as well as soothe any itchiness you have. Oatmeal helps your skin fight dryness, reduce pore size, and it also moisturizes.

We love this oatmeal mask recipe for soothing irritated skin:

2 tablespoons colloidal oatmeal (We use Bob’s Red Mill organic oatmeal, ground into a fine powder in a coffee grinder/food processor)
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 tablespoon honey
Mix the ingredients together and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, gently massage onto your skin, forming a mask. Leave the mask on your skin for 10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.


After treating your skin with green tea and oatmeal, a little additional moisturizer will help bring your skin back to its glowy goodness. Coconut oil helps your skin retain moisture and elasticity, and it also has anti-septic and anti-microbial properties.

We love Nature’s Way extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, and it really works well for putting the moisture back in your inflamed skin. Massage the oil wherever your skin is red, itchy, or dry, and continue to reapply as needed.
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Do you see the effects of stress on your skin? What do you do to fight it?



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