When it comes to skin health and skin complexion, people tend to look at their cleansing habits as well as the external effects such as dirt, bacteria, and lifestyle factors and their effect on the skin. What we don’t often talk about enough; however, is the effect of stress on your skin and why it’s important to manage it.
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Stress doesn’t just affect our mental health and the way we think or feel, but it also can cause changes to our physical health such as our skin, nails, hair, and even weight management.
When it comes to skin, stress can cause a lot of problems, which is why it’s important to know how to manage it and stop it from affecting your skin.
The Link Between Stress and Skin
Stress affect your skin by causing chemical responses in your body that make your skin sensitive and reactive. What this means is that normal breakouts that regularly occur can come out faster, and more severe in condition.
If you have chronic stress, you will also notice that breakouts occur more often. This is a result of a hormone, like cortisol that is produced during stress. This hormone tells your glands to produce more oil, in turn, your skin will become oily, and acne will breakout.
Stress-related skin conditions also include:
1. Increased Oil Production and Acne
Probably the main and obvious effect of stress on the skin will be the stubborn and spontaneous pop up of acne. Especially for women, stress will mix up our skin nerve signals and cause an imbalance of hormones. As stated previously, this will lead to excess production of sebum, and cause acne to grow.
2. Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Multiple research studies have shown that people who tend to stress easily or a lot can speed the process of premature wrinkles. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that is released into the body when you feel stressed. Cortisol is known to break down collagen in the skin. With the breakdown and loss of elastin and collagen, your skin will begin to wrinkle and sag.
3. Worsening of Existing Skin Conditions
Studies have also shown that stress not only creates new skin problems, but it can also make existing ones worse. Skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, hives, rosacea, psoriasis, among others, can actually increase in severity and inflammation through stress as it makes it harder for your skin to regulate healing and balance.
4. Thinner, More Sensitive Skin
As cortisol levels will rise during times of stress, drastic or high levels of it may cause your skin to become thinner. This can cause your skin to appear dry, very soft, as well as easily being scarred or bruised. However, you would need drastically high levels of cortisol in your system for your skin to become very thin and is a very rare occurrence.
5. Delayed Natural Wound Healing
When chronic stress reaches alarming levels, your epidermis will become weaker, and infections and environmental pathogens become more of a serious risk. This will also slow down your skin’s natural ability to heal wounds, scars, and acne.
It can also stop the body from combating inflammation on your skin. This may lead to worsened acne scarring after the blemish has popped.
Managing Stress and Skincare
Managing stress and skincare are so important for health and really are two separate things. Managing skincare requires you to adopt routines, products as well as treatments that suit you best.
Managing stress requires generally similar in the way you need to adopt a routine and be consistent with it. When managing stress for mental and physical health, your skin, in turn, will improve. You can try these approaches to help manage and alleviate stress and improve skin health in the process.
- Meditation – Meditating is one of the best things to help you immediately calm down and teach you techniques on how to handle stress better the next time it may occur.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – Sleeping is one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only does it benefit your mental health, but it also gives your skin time to recover after daily strains.
- Have Some Alone Time – Stress is usually caused by something or someone in your environment that triggers you emotionally. Remove yourself entirely from that environment and focus on yourself.
- Drink Plenty of Water – When the body is dehydrated, almost all aspects of your health will suffer. Your mental health will strain, causing you to stress easily, and your skin will start to become dry.
Other things that will help with stress and your skin is eating healthy foods, getting your recommended daily intake of nutrients, exercising consistently, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting checked up with your doctor whenever you notice anything irregular in your mental or physical health.
When to See a Doctor?
If you notice your skin condition becoming worse or have persisting difficulties, speak with your doctor on what you can do. Even if you notice that managing stress and following the above tips don’t seem to improve the condition, speak with your doctor.
You may have an underlying skin condition that is causing your skin complications. Your doctor will then be able to refer you to a dermatologist, and they will then be able to treat you accordingly. Stress can affect many other aspects of your health, so seeking help from a doctor or support group is highly recommended.
Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.
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