We are onto the final phase of our ‘Journey to clear skin’ series. If you really want to have great skin, be sure to check you haven’t missed any of the first 3 parts as they all play their role.

LIFESTYLE – we live in a world where there is constant stress. Even when you don’t feel stressed, your body can be under stress. This will cause a breakout. Think about a bride on her wedding day…how often does she wake up with a big zit on the morning of the wedding? Yes, you guessed it, it’s the stress of the big day that can cause havoc. Stress will interfere with the body’s hormone balance and as you’ve already discovered in part 1 of the clear skin series, hormones really play a huge part in skin health. Stress will also damage the gut lining and in part 3 you learnt about the gut-skin connection. You have to get your stress levels sorted if you want your skin to improve. When we think of stress we often think of the ‘traditional’ stress from having a busy schedule, a horrible boss or family issues. But stress can be caused by so many other things. Lack of sleep will be stressing your body out, food intolerances will cause a strain on the body and a vigorous exercise routine can really put a lot of pressure on the body. Balance is the key.

TOP TIPS TO REDUCE STRESS AND IMPROVE YOUR LIFESTYLE

Take up some form or restorative exercise

Yoga, meditation, tai chi are all wonderful ways to reduce stress levels.

Take 5 minutes out to just take 10 deep breaths

This can dramatically reduce the production of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Sleep

Sleep is so underrated! It is vital for your body to function efficiently. Your body repairs itself whilst your sleep so when you burn the candles at both ends, your body and skin have less time to repair and regenerate.

Sleep

Avoid foods that you could be intolerant to

The main culprits are gluten, dairy and soy but in some people eggs or nightshade vegetables could be a problem. Start by eliminating the main culprits (in part 3 you discovered why these are not doing your skin and body any favours) and see if that helps. If there is still problems you may need to do an elimination diet for a couple of months to find out what your triggers are. Working on the gut lining and helping it to work properly will also help you have less intolerances.

Take time out

Easier said than done I know! I am someone who could work 24/7 but taking time out for you is so important. If not you will find yourself burnt out and not enjoying life. I found creating structure in my day really made a big difference. If you work for someone else, you have a timetable, schedule and know what you are doing and when you are doing it. As a self employed person it is slightly different and this was my biggest battle. I have many different hats I wear – 3 businesses to juggle as well as a wedding to plan. Gaining balance is not always easy but it is necessary if you want a happy, fulfilled life.

Scheduling my days has really helped me. I plan my working days and I make sure I factor in breaks and a full day off. Are you doing the same? If you are a woman, it is highly likely that you are prioritising your families needs over your own and one of my other venture ‘Embrace Your Self’ is a multi faceted approach to helping women put their own oxygen mask on first for once.

Even building that business along with my co founders Julie Dennis, Caroline Ferguson and Becky Redpath has helped me see how I sometimes leave myself on the backburner. Do something every week to treat yourself. It could be a massage, facial, pedicure or a dinner out with the girls. Whatever it is, schedule it in just as you would other important things in your week. Own your schedule rather than letting your schedule own you.

Smile!

So simple but so effective. Smiling can change everything. Try it next time you are feeling stressed out or in a bad mood.

So there you have it, the final piece to the puzzle and what a great way to end…smiling! If you implement the key points from this clear skin series, I am highly confident you will see your skin improve. I would love to hear your comments and progress on what you have implemented and how it has helped you.

Remember, your skin is the one thing you have to wear every day. Look after it!