Breathing correctly helps acne, as I’ll explain shortly. Now, on me:
Wrong, try again:
Amazing, isn’t it. Breathing – something you do around 16 times a minute, 960 times an hour, or just under 8.5 million times a year and you more than likely do it wrong. So today, we’re going to take some time to learn how to do it properly.
Breathing – and breathing correctly – is probably not something you consciously think about, let alone consider it could help your acne. In fact, proper breathing is so important it should be studied by everyone.
Breathing and health might seem unrelated, at first. I mean it’s just a natural movement right, it requires no thought or effort to do. You probably have the attitude that “it just takes care of itself”.
But if you think of breathing like a scale, or a spectrum, the connection between good health and proper ventilation becomes clear.
On one end of the scale, perfect breathing provides sufficient oxygen for your body’s respiratory processes and removes all the toxic carbon dioxide generated as a result.
The other end of the scale is a total, permanent cessation of breathing…
See my point?
Whatever treatment regimen or diet you’re using to clear your acne, everybody should concentrate on improving their breathing. And the best thing is once you know how to breathe properly, you know. From then on, it’s just practice!
Check how you’re breathing, right now
Just for a moment, become aware of your breathing.
Is it deep, or shallow?
Slow or fast?
Constant, or are there pauses between breaths?
Does your stomach move in and out, or does your chest rise and fall?
I suspect, if you’re like me and 99% of the rest of the population, your answers will be the second option for each of the above questions.
No bother, let’s fix that right away so you can breathe properly while you read the rest of this post about how breathing correctly helps acne.
How to breathe correctly
Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to fix your breathing. Once you know how to do it properly, the only difficulty is continually recognizing when your breathing is less than perfect and reminding yourself to slow down, breathe deeper and from the right place.
What do I mean by breathing from the right place?
The most important thing to realize about proper breathing is that your chest is not involved. Proper breathing uses the diaphragm, which is the dome shaped muscle which forms a “seal” under your ribcage.
To start breathing correctly you need to contract (flatten) this muscle on the inhale so that it increases the volume of your chest and allows oxygen-rich air to rush in.
On the exhale it’s vice versa – let the diaphragm muscle relax back into a dome shame, squashing the chest cavity and forcing the carbon dioxide from your lungs.
To do this, stop breathing from your chest and start breathing from your stomach. Try to keep your chest still while you breathe in and instead, use those abdominal muscles of yours to push your stomach out as far as you can. That’s how to take a proper deep breath.
Then without holding your breath, breathe out again by pulling your stomach back in.
Once you’ve got that technique down, start slowing your breathing down. The average guy takes about 16 breaths a minute – about 1.8 seconds in and 1.8 seconds out.
That’s way too fast to take in enough oxygen, allow it to pass through the membranes of your lungs into the blood, exchange carbon dioxide and breathe all that CO2 out again.
Instead, take about three seconds on the in breath, then immediately breathe out for four, and then pause for a further three seconds. That’s 10 seconds in total – just six per minute, rather than 16.
A few other key points:
- stay nice and relaxed throughout
- keep good posture
- breathe silently – coughing, wheezing, snoring and sniffling are all signs of sub-optimal breathing.
Oh, and always breathe through your nose.
To practice, take 20 deep breaths first thing in the morning, every day. Not only will this wake you up (nearly as good as your cold shower will), it’ll also train your muscles to remember this “new” style of breathing.
And after doing it wrong about 210 million times (literally, if you’re 25 years old), it’s going to take some training!
Benefits of breathing correctly
You know what, I wrote and rewrote this bit about 90 times and kept adding in benefits for this and that and the other. Breathing correctly is good for just about every single bodily function.
Because it’s so important to energy levels, muscles, nerves and organs, there’s basically no part of your body or health which will not be improved by breathing correctly. It helps digestion, nervous system function, muscles, brain, teeth and especially for us, skin.
The two primary benefits for those with acne are in relation to circulation and stress.
When we’re stressed, our breathing becomes shallow and infrequent.
It’s not uncommon for a stressed out person to hold their breath for 20 seconds at a time, and then take in one big gulp of air. This allows CO2 to build up in the blood and cells, and contributes significantly to inflammation – which may then show up as acne.
Proper breathing technique also improves circulation, allowing blood vessels to dilate and increasing blood flow to the skin. This heals up acne and acne scars and removes metabolic waste products from the skin.
Something as simple as altering your breathing could pay huge dividends for your skin. Breathing correctly helps acne by reducing stress, decreasing inflammation, and improving circulation better than any supplement or diet plan.
Phew, that was hard work. I’m out of breath!