The biggest beauty thief and ager of all is the stress our minds try to endure day in and day out.
A classic sign of the stress response is shallow, crazy-fast breathing. That’s why the opposite—deep, slow breathing—is such an effective way to calm yourself down. It can help you halt a stress reaction, or at least control it. Plus, it shifts the body’s balance of carbon dioxide-to-oxygen in favor of energizing oxygen. Remember, carbon dioxide is a waste product, whereas your cells and systems need a constant supply of fresh oxygen to stay alive and work efficiently. Oxygen is arguably the most vital nutrient for the body; we would die within minutes without it. The integrity of the brain, nerves, glands, and internal organs depends on oxygen, and any shortage in supply will have a profound impact on the entire body—inside and out.
The lymphatic system, too, gets a serious boost from deep breathing. Lymph is a clear fluid filled with immune cells that moves around the body in a series of vessels. It delivers nutrients and collects cellular waste while helping to destroy pathogens, including those that can downgrade your skin health. The deeper you breathe, the more you can achieve this effect. While the heart is the pump for the vascular system, the lymphatic system has no built-in pump, so it relies on your breathing and physical movement to get around the body. It has long been known that exercise stimulates this movement of lymphatic fluid, but the role of breathing wasn’t entirely recognized until scientists found a way to photograph lymph flow. This is how they observed that deep breathing causes the lymph to gush through the lymphatic vessels.
It’s empowering to know that something as simple (and free) as breathing can be a powerful tool to build beauty and sustain health.
From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.