Anyway, here's a great Q&A with Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad facial products, answering some of the readers burning questions. Check it out.
Q: How does stress affect my skin?
"Patients often don't realize how much stress affects their skin," says Dr. Murad. In fact, when you're stressed, your brain reacts by sending messages called neuropeptides throughout your body. These stress messages result in dehydration, which causes your skin to become dry and sensitive. On the other hand, you might notice increased breakouts under stress. That's because acne is an inflammatory process that is exacerbated by your heightened stress levels.
You can minimize the effect stress has on your skin. One way is to manage expectations in your life. "Don't judge yourself against unrealistic expectations. I still want you to function well and do a great job, but you can still do the best you can and not be perfect," says Dr. Murad.
Q: How can I keep my skin looking young?
"A healthy lifestyle is the best way to stay looking young, and it includes eating right, sleeping well and reducing your stress levels as much as possible."
Now, we all know that answer sounds easier than it actually is, but Dr. Murad has some helpful tips. For one, "eat more plant foods than animal foods," he says. Make small changes, such as swapping out your morning toast for oatmeal or your instant mashed potatoes for baked sweet potatoes.
And you can help prevent your skin from developing signs of aging by ensuring you wear products with SPF daily and year-round. "Many people don't realize that a lot of damage that causes wrinkles is from the environment," says Dr. Murad. Eating fish rich in amino acids as well as beans and seeds can help diminish your fine lines.
Q: What is the best way to wash my face?
First of all, ensure your cleanser is the best for your skin type. "Don't use an acne cleanser if that's not what your skin needs. If you have sun damage, get one with antioxidants," says Dr. Murad.
"Next, make sure you thoroughly cleanse your skin at night," he says. It may be the last thing you want to do when you're finally ready to hit the hay, but it is essential to remove the grime and pollutants your skin has accumulated throughout the day. And you can use a washcloth to wash away your cleanser, but be gentle since the exfoliation may be too harsh for those with sensitive skin.
Q: What is the best way to fight adult acne?
While pimples, acid-washed jeans and braces are memories we would rather leave in our teenage years, unfortunately some adults have to fight the acne battle. But the breakouts that adults experience differ. "Adult acne is not as severe," says Dr. Murad. "Typically when adults have acne, it's from your nose down and is associated with stress."
And adults need to combat acne differently than when they were younger. "Treatment products need to be more gentle and include soothing ingredients that help diminish signs of aging," says Dr. Murad. He recommends you choose products that contain phytoestrogens such as soy or mushrooms, which improve elasticity and add moisture. These topical hormones also may be helpful in fighting hormonal acne, which some women experience around their menstrual cycle.
- By Julie Wlodychak Borm for ME Magazine