Do Optimists Have Better Skin?


A quick sentence to put things in perspective: “No matter how happy you are, you’re going to get a pimple.” It's the great equalizer of skincare. Any way you see the glass—full, half-empty, as a can of PBR instead of an actual glass—you can have all the inner beauty in the world, but at some point, the only thing that's going to make it all better is a dab of concealer.

It's also the first thing Dr. Amy Wechsler, a double board-certified dermatologist and psychologist who we've talked to before, said to me when I called to inquire whether happier people suffer fewer breakouts. Not that I had any empirical data on the matter (for what it's worth, Dr. Wechsler says there hasn't been much research on the subject, perhaps for good reason), but I've been noticing a trend: Ask for anyone's best beauty advice and they'll tell you “Smile! Be happy to be yourself and it'll shine through. You'll just glow.”

Absolutely, totally, truly great advice, sure. It might even lead to fewer stress-related breakouts. “But it can be a bad thing to say that if only you were happier, your skin will clear up.” Dr. Wechsler warns. “So much of it is hormonal and based on stress levels, however simply being in a better mood won't clear skin. That’s just not true and it's not that easy. “

But because the only thing worse than being stressed out is being told to “Stop being so stressed' when you're stressed, all I'll say is rest up, invest in a good spot treatment, and feel free to worry—but not about your skin.

—Emily Ferber

Photo via ITG.