Detox Your Anger, Detox Your Skin


Emotions are a funny thing. Some of us say we can't control them, some of us have no problem expressing them no matter what the situation, and some of us never allow our emotions to get the best of us. Sometimes we are very in tune with our emotions and can process them in a healthy way so we aren't reactive when we find ourselves in awkward situations. I've always admired composed types that can hold an emotion until they are comfortable enough to deal with it later, dissecting what caused them to feel hurt, angry or sad and articulately express it if appropriate. I myself am more of the "emotionally expressive" type. I let it out and let it go. I'm not the kind of person to hold grudges, but also not the admirable self composed thoughtful type. The thing with me is I don't believe in waiting around for emotions to keep me prisoner. I like confronting things and sometimes that makes others uncomfortable. So, a few weeks ago when I found myself in a situation where someone rattled me with their explosion of emotions, disappointments, rudeness and refused to talk it out, well it led me to...breakout. I held in my disappointment, my need to let it out, work it out and let bygones be and instead I directed this person's passive aggression at myself and was physically punished for it with an ugly breakout and scaly patches on my face. You may think that's crazy, but there is nothing crazier than what anger, stress and chronic disappointment can do to your skin and body. It can make you look like hell!

Scientifically, it all makes sense. Stress and anger change chemicals in your brain and can induce an influx of adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. In the brain, the part that deals with emotion called amygalda goes crazy when you're angry and you can react in a flash and cause a fight or flight reaction. There is a split second at the time of a triggered event when you feel the physical effect with your "blood boiling" or skin feeling flushed or heated. There is also an actual physiological  process when blood rushes to the frontal lobe and the neurological response to anger subsides quickly and you can make significant choices not to knock someone out and behave civilly. Prior to that all heck can break loose and often we say or do things we regret later. What I've just described lasts only two seconds, but produces a neurological change that isn't quite healthy and takes a toll on our body. Our skin always reflects these hits first. It's a true thing that a blemish will erupt when you lose your marbles or does that just happen to me? Our skin is supposed to "detox" and these quick hormone imbalances unregulate the cells that produce sebum which have receptors for stress. If you're a teacher or a parent you have probably helped calm down a hotheaded kid by asking them to count to ten. Well, it works like a charm! Try it on yourself the next time you find yourself in a stressful or angry situation. It may take some practice because it requires one to include rationale and make the choice to calm down and count it down. It may save you from seeing a few blemishes on your face too.

On the opposite side of the spectrum people that are more level headed and aware of their emotions experience less skin trauma. We can all learn skills that can help us stay as cool as a cucumber though besides counting to ten. Meditation, yoga, dancing, writing, painting. For me, adventures in the outdoors is very therapeutic and transformative. Yeah, I'm that person that literally goes for a walk when I get hot under the collar. Going back to the situation in which I was in with a predicament with a person who didn't like confrontation and refused to resolve their problems as rationally as I would have (talking helps people!). I attempted to resolve the situation in every way I could think of, but I was denied and ignored. I had to come to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do about someone else's emotional state even if I was being accused of being their cause of disappointment and strife. We are only responsible for what is within the realm of reason to want to change. I accepted that eventually and damn if my skin didn't clear up quickly and radiate better health in two days! I got over it and it was a momentous feeling. I made the choice to put that strife behind me and step forward instead of bending backwards to fix it or convince someone to talk it out with me and problem solve. (My teacher days are deep instilled.)

Human beings are so fascinating. I'm always caught in between an overwhelming love for mankind and a tragic sense of sadness at how we treat one another. I have learned in this life that more often than not we tend to share more positive attributes than negative ones. Balance is the key to everything right? So after dealing with a person who triggered a revenue of complicated emotions for me I decided to let it go and wish peace upon the anger I experienced and the anger that manifested for that person that was unable to transform. It's the best one can do. We move on, we grow, flourish or we hold root, decay and grow ugly. Doesn't growing and flourishing sound much better?

Hiking in the California forest made my skin beautiful!


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  • It’s not just you… I ALWAYS break out when I’m stressed! Thank you for sharing.. sometimes we’re so busy STRESSING that we don’t notice that we’re not LIVING and also affecting our health while we’re at it! Eesh! Thanks for sharing, love! xo

    Tara Mackey of My Organic Life on
  • This is exactly what I needed to read today after a silly argument with my sister yesterday. I love your humor and real person writing style Victoria. Thank you for this.

    Lisa Thompson on
  • Great post, really enjoyed it. So true, I totally agree. I always say… what is going on in the inside, is going on on the outside :) Be happy, smile, love, dance, hike!

    Kat on

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