What Stress Can Do To Your Skin
It’s tough to relax in today’s busy world. As technology brings us closer together, it also makes it more and more difficult to forget about your problems. Unfortunately, medical evidence shows that stress is very unhealthy. While you might have heard all about how stress can impact your heart, stomach and brain, it can also have a pretty negative impact on your skin.Before we dive too deeply into things, let’s first talk about what stress is. Stress is a natural response that our bodies have to critical events. When we’re being chased by a bear (or a deadline), our bodies release a collection of chemicals that change the way our cells respond to various situations. In the short term, the stress response makes people better at handling certain dangerous situations. In the long term, it wastes a lot of energy and can cause some serious damage if the body is left in stress mode for too long.
As far as your skin is concerned, stress is often a trigger that causes a cascade of other issues. Stress can cause latent acne, rosacea, and eczema to flare up. These conditions can be difficult to treat on their own. When they’re fueled by a constant supply of stress hormones, they become monstrous. You might not be able to clear up your acne entirely by meditating a few times a week, but it’s a great way to make other treatments more effective.
Of course, the effects of stress don’t stop there. Stress tends to worsen your skin’s health overall, making simple things like under-eye bags worse. Stressed skin is often dry, red, flaky, and generally much less healthy looking than relaxed, normal skin. Again, reducing your stress levels might not eliminate these problems entirely, but it’s a pretty big step in the right direction.
To make matters worse, some people can break out in rashes or hives as a reaction to stress. These itchy blemishes can cause a subtle spiral of minor stressors — you have to take time out of your day to care for your skin, which puts you behind on work, and the products you’re using might not leave you feeling entirely comfortable. Scratching your itchy skin can make things more complicated, as your stressed out cells are more vulnerable to certain types of skin infection.
Stress doesn’t have to impact your skin directly. It can however, affect your behavior. People who are stressed are more likely to pick at their skin, touch their faces, and generally put their dirty hands places where they don’t really need to be. This often overlooked symptom can turn an already triggered acne outbreak into something much worse.
Managing stress is difficult. It’s not something that you can instantly become good at overnight. There are a few steps you can take to keep yourself healthy and let your body relax. Meditation is recommended by many doctors, and if that’s not your thing, consider simply setting some time aside each week to do something just for you. This could be an art class, dinner at your favorite restaurant, or anything else as long as it gives you an opportunity to unwind. Other generic (but helpful!) advice includes drinking plenty of water, eating less sugar, getting enough sleep, and finding time to get in a little bit of exercise each week. A slight lapse in any of these activities can have an insidious effect on your stress levels. It’s definitely worth taking a few extra minutes each day to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
It’s easy to forget that your skin is one of the most important organs in your body. Just like the rest of your body, stress can have a whole plethora of negative impacts on your skin. Be sure to take the time to take care of yourself, make time for you to relax, and ensure that you’re working with an expert to solve life’s little problems effectively instead of letting them pile up.
Written by Leah LaVanway