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How Does Stress Affect Your Skin Health?


Happy Stress Awareness Month!

 

Stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone.

 

Did you know that the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it?

 

When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses. Sometimes it may come as a result of breakouts, but chronic stress can have a more significant impact on your skin health.

 

Let's look at ways stress shows on your skin, and how to eliminate stress through selfcare!


How Does Stress Show on Your Skin?

When we're stressed, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode.

 

Stress triggers the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a trio of glands that play key roles in the body’s response to stress. This can cause the production of local pro-inflammatory factors, such as cortisol and key hormones in the fight-or-flight stress response called catecholamines.

 

This can then lead to these stress-related conditions on your skin:

  • Increased Oil Production: Cortisol tells your oil glands to go into overdrive, creating a breeding ground for breakouts and acne.

  • Weakened Skin Barrier: Environmental stress such as overexposure to the sun without a good sunscreen weakens your skin's natural defense system, making it more susceptible to irritation, melasma, dryness, and even premature aging.

  • Flare-Ups of Existing Conditions: For those with pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, stress can trigger flare-ups and worsen symptoms.

  • Dullness and Lack of Radiance: Stress can decrease blood flow to the skin, leading to a dull, tired appearance.

  • Hyperpigmentation: Environmental stress such as excessive sun exposure can lead to hyperpigmentation and also speed up the aging process.


Ways of Eliminating Stress

  • De-Stressing Ingredients

Skincare is a form of selfcare that can significantly reduce stress! Come up with a routine that works for you. Also look for skincare products with ingredients like chamomile, lavender, and hyaluronic acid, known for their soothing and hydrating properties.


  • Meditation

There is some evidence that meditation may lower overall catecholamine levels in people who do it regularly. Similarly, meditation and relaxation techniques have been shown to help skin conditions such as psoriasis. Mindful meditation also helps train your focus and awareness, promoting relaxation and reducing stress reactivity.


  • Quality Sleep

Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. When you're well-rested, you're better equipped to handle stress. Practice good sleep hygiene habits like maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.


  • Healthy Diet & Regular Exercise

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides your body with the nutrients it needs to cope with stress. Limit processed foods, sugar, and excessive caffeine, which can worsen anxiety. Physical activity is a powerful stress reliever. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 3-4 days a week.


  • Connect with Others

Spend time with loved ones, join a social group, or volunteer for a cause you care about. This will provide you with support and a sense of belonging, which can be a buffer against stress.

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