Issue #115: The Happiness Issue

Girl happy outside

Waking up to a pimple on the day of your big presentation at work or desperately trying (and failing) to nix those dark circles under your eyes is enough to stress anybody out. But while tackling skin troubles is the ultimate source of stress, the connection between mood and skin health is a little bit of a “chicken or egg” game. Sure, some wrinkles or relentless blemishes can put you in a pretty sour mood. But it turns out that a bad mood could be the cause of those wrinkles and blemishes, too. This is because negative feelings like stress release cortisol into your body and throw off your gut health. All of that ends up playing with your hormones – and showing up on your face. (Think about it: those pimples do get worse when you’re stressing about your to-do list or schedule.)

On the flip side, just like negative emotions can wreak havoc on your skin, positive ones can help improve it. It’s simple: when you’re feeling relaxed and happy, your skin follows suit, and develops a kind of “happiness glow.” One reason for the effect is that positive emotions actually increase your skin’s ability to repair and renew itself naturally.

A good mood is also sure to help keep your hormones in check, which means that pesky imbalances that can be at the root of skin troubles won’t be such a problem. And to top it all off, some research also suggests that people who smile or laugh more tend to look younger as a result, meaning that a little bit of positivity might be able to counteract the normal effects of aging on your skin (feel free to ditch the frequent retinol application).

Mind you: none of this is to say that happiness is the be-all and end-all of clear, radiant skin. There are always going to be additional factors in the mix, like regular washing, moisturizing, and plain old genetics. But, on the plus side, a boost in mood can have some positive effect on your complexion. And when skin troubles have got you down, a little boost is better than none at all.