How Stress Impacts Your Skin + Tips on Reducing Stress
Stress on its own is challenging enough. And while many of its symptoms aren’t always noticeable from the outside, there is one symptom that does make stress quite apparent, and that is your skin’s poor complexion. When your body is under constant stress, it becomes evident through your face.
Symptoms due to stress can gradually compound and start to impact your skin’s health.
Discover why stress has an impact on your skin, how your skin reacts under stressful conditions, and how you can manage and reduce daily stressors.
Why Stress Has an Impact on Your Skin
Under normal circumstances, stress is a good thing. For example, if you encounter a bear while you’re out hiking in the woods, stress will trigger a fight-or-flight response. This response releases a surge of adrenaline and cortisol hormones within your body. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and blood pressure, while cortisol spikes blood sugar levels. These physiological responses are necessary to help you fight impeding danger.
However, if your body is chronically stressed, these hormones continue to be elevated and create an imbalance in your system.
The problem is, your body cannot decipher between chronic day-to-day stress (non-life-threatening situation) and actual stress (danger or life-threatening situation). When your body remains in a fight-or-flight state, it can begin to negatively impact your skin!
Ways Your Skin is Affected by Stress
Stress can really throw your body out of sync. It can affect your sleep, digestion, and mood, among other things. All these factors can have a snowball effect and lead to noticeable changes in your skin.
If you’re constantly stressed, you may experience one or more of these skin problems:
During stressful times, your body focuses its energy on your vital organs, like the heart, brain, and lungs, thus restricting blood flow to your skin. This is the reason your skin may look more dull than usual when you’re undergoing stress.
Dry skin is another common symptom of stress. When your body is in fight-or-flight mode, you sweat more, and can easily become dehydrated. You may also try and manage stress by consuming alcohol, which further dries out your skin.
Oily skin may be a result of excess cortisol in your body. Cortisol stimulates your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, which can make your skin appear more oily than normal.
If your skin is oilier than usual, due to excess sebum production, it may increase the chances of your pores getting clogged. Clogged pores are often the culprit behind acne breakouts.
During stressful periods, your body’s digestion slows down. Slow digestion means that gut bacteria has more time to breed and multiply and that can lead to an overgrowth of the ‘unhealthy’ strains of bacteria. This overgrowth disturbs the delicate balance of gut flora and can create inflammation in your body.
Stress can trigger eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea flare-ups. When your body is out of harmony, it exacerbates your skin and can worsen these skin conditions.
How to Manage and Reduce Stress
Stress is neither good for your health, nor your skin. Take the time to address what’s causing stress in your life. Slow things down and really evaluate what’s important to you and what’s not. Becoming aware of what’s triggering stress and avoiding these triggers is the first step to managing it.
Here are a few more tips on how you can reduce and manage stress:
Getting adequate sleep is crucial, especially when you’re dealing with chronic stress. Your body needs extra rest so it can replenish its energy stores and restore hormonal balance.
Exercise is a great way to improve blood flow and help your body relax. It also boosts endorphins which will help improve your mood too!
Yoga and medication are excellent ways to practice slowing things down and can help you focus on your breathing. Slowing your breathing slows your heart rate and can help reduce anxiety.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re unable to manage your stress effectively, it’s important you seek help from a medical professional. Stress is detrimental to your health and your health is vital to maintaining a great skin complexion.