Stress is everywhere these days; whether it be family concerns, work pressures, or just the drive to succeed in school, it’s easy to feel stress. While not all stress is negative – after all, some stress is what helps us to achieve our biggest goals – it does have an effect on our skin. When it isn’t possible to reduce the stress placed on you, it is at least important to take care of your skin so that it doesn’t experience the negative results of stress on skin. When you can, work to reduce your stress load to avoid these effects.
The skin under stress produces more oil, causing breakout proneness
Stress is, by definition, linked to the production of the hormone cortisol. While cortisol has many life-affirming qualities, from regulating metabolisms to helping a female body grow a baby, it also stimulates oil production in the skin. If this oil is more than usual, it can result in breakouts and worse acne problems than usual. If you know you are experiencing stress, monitor your skin carefully and use a gentle cleanser to help keep increased oil production from causing breakouts.
Fine lines appear earlier when you are experiencing stress
Stress actually ages us a little faster than simply living life, which means that sometimes fine lines appear earlier on a stressed face. This is especially true if your stress results in not getting enough sleep at night; chronic exhaustion is linked to skin that ages quicker and develops wrinkles earlier. Elastin and collagen, parts of the skin that keep skin looking youthful, break down in the presence of cortisol. That’s right, the same cortisol that can stimulate oil production in your skin.
Creams and serums can certainly help minimize the appearance of fine lines, but they should be used in combination with a concerted effort to get more rest. Even if your circumstances cannot change, your body will cope with stressful circumstances better when it is well rested.
Stress causes flare-ups for skin conditions and creates infection susceptibility
Being stressed is linked to flare-ups of chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema, which can sometimes lie mostly dormant during non-stressful circumstances. At the same time, stress reduces our immune response, which means that skin infections like cold sores are more likely to not be resisted by the skin’s natural defenses. Both of these conditions demonstrate how operating at our optimum level of intensity allows our skin to ward off certain problems, but stress weakens that ability.
Stress results in dull, less vital-looking skin
We’ve all had mornings when our skin seems dull, with either flakes of dried skin or a bit of pallor that isn’t typical. Stress can cause our skin to appear tired and lackluster, especially the delicate skin under the eyes that can make it appear that we have dark circles or bags under our eyes. Make-up and skin care products can provide temporary help, but ultimately, stress and exhaustion will continue to impact one’s facial skin, as well as the rest of one’s skin, until the underlying causes of stress are handled. It’s important to treat dull skin as a sign that perhaps some of the other effects – flare-ups, acne, or wrinkles – may be coming if a change isn’t made.
The good news is that one way to help reduce your stress is to take good care of yourself, starting with things like exercise, healthy eating, and finding the right skincare products for your skin type. Mitigate the effects of stress with good hydration, relaxation activities, and an excellent skincare regimen that keeps your skin glowing even when you need to get a lot done at work.
For more healthy ways to deal with stress, head to our all natural stress buster blog post by clicking here.