Stress And Skin
Good skin is a reflection of your inner health…
The aging process, diet and poor skincare habits are not the only things that can affect your skin.
Stress is a major cause of many skin health problems.
The negative effects of stress are cumulative as stress can cause lack of sleep or alter your appetite, both of which can contribute to premature skin aging and skin problems.
Stress also makes some people smoke or drink alcohol more frequently, which in turn also contributes to prematurely aged, dull-looking skin.
Stress And Skin Problems
When you are under pressure your skin is too, in fact the condition of your skin can be a reflection of what is going on inside your body.
During periods of stress, stress hormones such as cortisol go into overdrive; this slows down the turnover of cells causing the body to become overloaded with toxins.
As the skin tries to excrete these toxins stress related skin conditions may occur.
How Stress Affects The Skin
Some dermatologists believe that unaddressed emotional problems affect the skin. The theory is that during development in the womb the skin and the brain are formed from the same cells, giving a mind-skin connection.
Unresolved emotional upset may therefore affect the skin causing any number of skin conditions.
Some skin conditions may be short-lived due to short-term stress, for example a college student may experience increased acne or spots around the time of exams.
The stress hormone cortisol can increase the production of oil making a person more prone to spots and pimples. Prolonged stress, however, may lead to long-term skin problems that are difficult to treat.
Skin Problems Caused By Stress
Stress related skin problems might show up as:
- Acne, spots and pimples
- Increased itching or hives/rashes
- Psoriasis or eczema
- Increased skin dryness or oiliness
- Sensitive skin
- Rough, dry patches of skin
- Pale or ashen complexion
- Dark circles around the eyes
Recognizing The Symptoms Of Stress
Stress affects your skin in many ways. Lack of sleep affects the repair and renewal of skin leaving you with a dull, tired and aged complexion.
Anxiety and tension can show up as a permanent frown which may accelerate the onset of frown lines.
Toxins accumulating because of an increase in the stress hormones can cause your facial skin to look puffy, pale or dull. And stress affects the immune system leaving you prone to acne, psoriasis or skin itchy rashes.
The causes of stress might be obvious to you, for example, you may be experiencing financial or relationship problems or you may be under pressure at work.
However the first step towards better skin health is recognizing the symptoms of stress to see if it is contributing to your skin problems.
The Physical Symptoms Of Stress Include:
- Changes to the skin/poor skin condition/skin problems
- Anxiety and worry
- Loss or increase of appetite
- High blood pressure
- Shortness of breath/hyperventilation
- Low libido
- Excess sweating
- Hair loss/hair thinning
The Emotional Symptoms Of Stress Include:
- Poor concentration/forgetfulness
- Low self-esteem/feeling hopeless
- Panic attacks
- Loss of sense of humor
- Relationship problems
- Increased reliance on bad habits – smoking, drinking alcohol, over or under-eating, addictive behaviors
Managing Stress For Healthier Skin
There is a great deal you can do to manage and reduce stress. Avoiding stress completely is impossible as everyone experiences stressful events and situations at various points in their life.
Recognizing the symptoms of stress and then resolving to tackle them is a positive step towards better skin health and better health in general.
The following tips can help to you to tackle short-term stress to reduce or prevent skin problems.
1) Exercise – Physical activity can help to reduce stress, even a regular 20-minute walk in the fresh air will help you to feel better.
Choose any activity you like, if you prefer to remain indoors use exercise equipment or DVDs.
Regular activity will improve your mood, boost circulation and reduce aging acidity in your body’s tissues.
2) Learn Relaxation Techniques – Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and breathing exercises can all help you to learn to relax and feel more in control of your life.
Joining a class is sociable and this can also help to improve your mood.
Any activity that takes you away from your normal stressful routine and allows you some relaxation time will help to lower your stress levels, for example a long relaxing soak in a warm bath at night also gives you the time and space to unwind.
3) Learn To Prioritize And Delegate – You’re only human and can’t be expected to do everything.
If you feel that you have too much to do at work or at home make a list of priority tasks and work your way through them one by one.
Delegate responsibilities wherever you can and let the less important tasks wait.
4) Address Negative Habits – Bad habits like smoking, drinking or eating the wrong kinds of foods can be difficult to give up when you are under stress. Try to keep any bad habits under control and make some simple changes.
Reducing your caffeine intake is an easier compromise if you feel now is not the time to give up a bad habit. Caffeine is a stimulant found in tea, coffee and some soft drinks and can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and tension.
5) Stay Positive – Maybe easier said than done, but there is much you can do to improve your mood so your mind can let go of stress.
Spend time with cheerful, positive friends or relatives who make you laugh, watch comedy on TV or a funny film or listen to uplifting music.