If you’re looking for a way to get flexible, banish stress, and relieve anxiety, then yoga could be the way forward. This ancient practice consisting of postures, breathing techniques, and meditation has gained mainstream popularity because of its health benefits. Yoga can have significant positive benefits on your body and mind.
Can doing yoga really make your skin glow?
Yes and no.
It won’t provide an instant skin fix. But practicing this ancient system of poses, mindfulness, and deep breathing could theoretically boost your health in ways that make your skin glow.
Yoga can boost your circulation which brings more oxygen to your cells. It may also reduce stress and inflammation, and help you get a better night’s sleep. These are all factors that can lead to healthier skin, that glows from within.
On the flip side, if you’re looking to galvanize your beauty routine to get that Insta-ready glowing skin, yoga may leave you wanting. Does yoga for glowing skin really work? Let’s pick apart the science.
Well… kinda. There’s no specific set of poses that can make your skin glow. But a health regimen that includes yoga can do a thing or two for your skin.
Yoga isn’t a magic bullet that can transform a dull, damaged complexion into dewy, radiant skin after two Downward Dogs and a Cobra. Your zits, blackheads, and fine lines aren’t going to disappear in the blink of an eye.
Skin health depends on many factors like diet, lifestyle, hormonal balance, and genetics. If you’re smoking, drinking a ton of booze, spending a lot of time in the sun without protection, not getting enough sleep, and forgetting to hydrate your skin and body, then no amount of yoga is going to counteract your life choices.
Now, saying that: some research suggests that yoga has skin-enriching benefits.
Yoga could increase blood flow, allowing more oxygen to reach your cells so that they can work better. For example, poses that involve a twisting motion squeeze blood from your organs, allowing oxygenated blood to flow in once you release the twist.
Specific inverted yoga postures or asanas increase blood circulation to your head and face. As you expect, blood rushing to your head causes a temporary glowing effect. (Although some say glowing, while others say red and sweaty! Perspective matters.)
If your body has banging circulation, this should open your pores and improve natural cleansing. Fewer toxins coursing through your bod may lead to a healthy rosy glow.
If this sounds like what you’re after, you should try inverted postures and forward bends that open the chest and increase blood supply to the head. Some example poses include:
- Cobra Pose
- Triangle Pose
- Shoulder Stand
- Fish Pose
Other postures may not leave you quite as red in the face, but they may help you focus on your breathing which can calm your body and mind. These may benefit your appearance as the tension leaves your body — stress acne is a thing, for example, so de-stressing might help you keep this at bay.
May improve sleep
Sleep is hella important for a healthy body and skin. Research has demonstrated that a lack of sleep can increase pore size and other changes. That’s because the body repairs itself as you sleep.
In a 2020 study in Korea, researchers found that in 32 women in their 40s, sleep deprivation significantly reduced skin hydration. Reduced sleep also caused a decrease in skin elasticity and an increase in wrinkles and skin texture. (tl;dr: You need to catch those Zzz’s if you want glowing skin.)
Guess what helps with sleep? Why yoga, of course. In a 2020 review of 1,832 participants, the researchers found that yoga benefited women with sleep issues by reducing insomnia.
Could decrease inflammation
Inflammation is a bodily process that has a hand in chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression. It also drives skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
A 2019 review of 15 clinical trials involving 937 participants found that yoga could potentially reduce inflammation across a range of chronic conditions.
Might reduce stress
Stress makes you feel crappy, and it can also make your skin look yucky. Stress can cause all sorts of nasty skin complaints like acne and dermatitis, as well as affecting how well they heal.
Practicing yoga can help relieve stress, which in turn can boost skin health. In a 2018 study that investigated the effects of yoga in 52 women, the authors found that yoga could effectively reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. (Not a huge sample, but it’s one of yoga’s more noted effects across the board.)
So, although there isn’t a direct link between yoga and glowing skin, it might just have positive effects because getting your yoga on can reduce stress and inflammation while improving sleep and circulation.
How often do you need to do yoga to see skin benefits?
There aren’t strict guidelines saying how often you need to do yoga before body, mind, or skin benefits become obvious.
Many yoga teachers recommend committing to 3 to 5 times a week (but they’re also the ones earning money from your attendance — just do yoga as much as you’re comfortable).
A large 2012 study of yoga peeps reckoned that those who yoga’d a minimum of 5 times a week saw the best results in terms of overall health.
You don’t need to practice yoga that much if that seems overbearing, though — just try to keep it regular, even if it’s only once or twice a week. If you’re not used to it, start slowly and build up gradually before becoming a human pretzel. You’ll just hinder your progress if you go all-out too quickly.
Not surprisingly, face yoga involves stretching and massaging the muscles in your face. The idea is to stimulate circulation and the lymphatic system, which then softens and relaxes the face muscles and alleviates tension.
There isn’t a tremendous amount of research out there to say that face yoga works, though one small 2018 study supported facial yoga.
Researchers asked female participants to perform 30 minutes of facial exercises daily for 8 weeks, then every other day for 12 weeks. They concluded that the movements led to a modest improvement in facial appearance. Bear in mind that this is a small amount of evidence, and 30 minutes of facial contortions every day is a fair old commitment (unless you’re Jim Carrey).
(Also, there’s not really a solid metric for “improved facial appearance,” so it’s not easy to trust the results.)
If you’re still keen, here are a couple of face poses to try:
The idea here is to reduce eye puffiness. But remember to be very gentle around the eyes.
- Place a finger on the inside edge of your eyebrows.
- Tap toward the outside of your eyebrows.
- Gently press on your temples for a couple of seconds.
- Tap above your cheekbones toward the inner corner of your eyes.
- Continue for 30 seconds.
This technique stimulates an acupressure point that may help reduce eye strain.
- Lightly press a finger into the inner corner of both eyes for 30 seconds.
- Circle gently in one direction for 30 seconds.
- Repeat in the opposite direction.
Aaaaaaaah: Breathing exercises
Aside from the breathing techniques used in yoga, Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also promote a breath-complexion connection.
They teach that your physical, emotional, and spiritual health relies on the balance of energy in the body and mind. Breath control and deep breathing play pivotal roles in this energy flow.
On a physiological level, breathing exercises may help combat oxidative stress, which contributes to skin aging. They could also reduce stress, which might add to your facial wrinkles because you’re frowning all the time.
There’s a boatload of breathing exercises to try. Here’s a couple:
Alternate nostril breathing
- Get comfy and relax your body.
- Place the tip of your right index and middle finger in between your eyebrows.
- Place the ring and little finger on the left nostril and your thumb on the right nostril.
- Exhale and close your right nostril with the thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
- Breathe in through the left nostril and then close it with your ring finger.
- Release your thumb on the right nostril and breathe out.
- Inhale through your right nostril, then close with your thumb.
- Release your ring finger from the left side and exhale. You’ve just completed 1 round.
- Try and repeat 5 times, remembering to inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.
- Lie on your back.
- Bend your knees slightly.
- Feel your breathing by placing one hand on your upper chest and one hand below your rib cage.
- Inhale through your nose slowly and concentrate on the feeling of your stomach pressing against your hand.
- Try and keep your other hand still.
- Exhale through pursed lips and tighten your stomach muscles.
- Practice for 5 to 10 minutes a few times per day. Try other positions like sitting in a chair or while doing your daily activities.
Healthy, flowing locks are a dream for many. Can yoga help? Maaaaaaybe.
Certain inverted yoga poses could inadvertently lead to hair health by encouraging blood flow to your scalp. Think Camel Pose, Rabbit Pose, Forward Bend, or Diamond Pose.
Plus, yoga may help combat stress, which may, in turn, reduces hair loss. The stress hormone cortisol interferes with hair growth. Balancing your hormones with a mindful practice like yoga could help keep more hair on your head and away from the floor.
Aside from trying to summon glowing skin with yoga contortions, a few other natural remedies can help you banish dry, dull skin. Here are some at-home methods to help you glow with the flow.
1. Try coconut oil
Coconut oil rocks a whole host of healing and anti-inflammatory properties, providing you’re not allergic. It’s a great moisturizer, so try using a tiny blob on your face, allowing it to soak in, and then removing it with your regular cleanser.
2. Use aloe vera
If you’ve ever had a burn, someone likely suggested using aloe vera. This cactus-like plant could stimulate new cell growth and soothe skin conditions such as psoriasis.
You can buy beauty products containing aloe vera (just make sure they don’t contain a bunch of other additives). Or, try using the gloopy inside of an aloe vera leaf and apply it directly to your skin.
3. Apply sunscreen
It’s important to wear SPF 15 sunscreen daily. This may help you prevent skin cancer and protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun.
And yes, that means even if it’s raining or overcast. The Sun is a powerful ball of gas, and a flimsy little raincloud won’t stop its rays messing with your skin.
4. Drink more water
Your body needs water to function — skin included.
Luscious, glowing skin relies on adequate hydration. Research has confirmed time and time again that drinking more water leads to healthier skin.
Yoga doesn’t provide instant glowing skin worthy of the red carpet.
But, over time, practicing yoga seems to provide a wealth of health benefits like improved circulation and sleep alongside reduced stress and inflammation. These goodies could lead to an overall enhancement in health and dewy, glowing skin as a side perk.
Will it happen overnight? No. Will it definitely work? No, but it might. Yoga has various mental and physical benefits, and incorporating this practice into your routine could improve your skin.