The last few years have been a little stressful for the most part, and you may have noticed the signs of stress when looking in the mirror.
Stress and anxiety has a huge impact on your health, and of course, that includes the health of your skin. It triggers the production of cortisol- the stress hormone. As a result, you may find your skin feeling oilier than normal. Like a snowball effect, the more oil means an increased risk of clogged pores, bacteria build up and therefore....acne.
From recent studies, many dermatologists have seen a correlation between clients with skin conditions and higher instances of stress and anxiety.
Which makes sense (to me anyway) as I often find myself picking at my face more during times of high stress. I deeply regret it every time, but why is it oh so satisfying?! The same goes for a number of other skin conditions all making an appearance when nerves are at an all time high. It's the bodies way of responding to a potential threat. Here's the 5 most common skin responses to stress and anxiety:
1. Eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea flare-ups
Autoimmune disorders and inflammatory conditions such as the above may flare up thanks to high levels of stress. It's the bodies response when it feels threatened. Similar to acne sufferers, the outbreak can cause further stress and self esteem issues being preoccupied in how your skin looks and covering it up.
2. Acne and skin rashes
As mentioned above, the elevated cortisol levels caused by stress will increase the oil production in your skin resulting in blocked pores and acne. Further, stress can ignite nervous habits meaning you may be more prone to picking at acne or scabs, aggravating the skin and making matters worse.
When stressed, our health isn't always at the forefront of our decision making process. You may find it hard to sleep, to eat and think. This means your body isn't getting the nutrition or rest it needs and can lead to dehydration. Hydration, sleep and a healthy diet plays a vital role in our skins health. There is no question that without those 3 things, your body suffers in a number of ways. You'll know you're dehydrated if your skin appears dull, dry and cracked and it's lost it's usual glow. Fortunately this can be quite easy to rectify. Up the water, load up on the baggies and get to bed early!
4. Premature aging
Stress can cause changes to the proteins in your skin and also affect gut, hormones and pretty much every aspect of your body and mind. Combined with potentially a poorer diet and sleep due to nerves at an all time high, there may be a reduction in your skins elasticity. This, combined with skin dehydration may contribute to wrinkle formation.
Have you ever been so itchy as a result of those swollen pink welts?! Although most hives are caused by allergic reactions or insect bites, stress can trigger them too! Fortunately, they usually go away within a day or two and symptoms can be relieved using a number of different remedies.
So what can you do about it?
Stress less. Easier said than done. Here however are some at home steps you can take to ease the effects of stress on your skin:
- use quality skin care routine every day.
- eat a balanced nutritious diet full of whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables and protein rich. Try to avoid sugars and alcohols that may only aggravate the above skin concerns.
- Move your body. Exercise releases all the feel good hormones to boost your mood and energy.
- Go to bed early. Sleep is more important than many believe. Sleep allows your body to rest and heal so it can function at the best of its ability.
- Self Care. Don't forget to take time for you. Do things that make you happy.
- Drink up! Keep a water bottle with you at all times. It will help to flush toxins from the body all while hydrating the skin.
- Talk. If stress is affecting your life, then talk to someone that can listen or help you work through the stress whether it be a good friend or therapist.
- Of course at home remedies and self care strategies are the first steps, but when it comes to persistent skin concerns and outbreaks- medical intervention may be required. Consult your dermatologist for expert advice.