Do you feel like your skin has been looking a bit worse for wear lately? You may have tried everything from facials, drinking more water to eating better foods - but nothing is helping! It’s possible that your skin issues are caused by stress. For some people stress causes a greyish complexion and dry, flaky skin, while others experience unwelcome break-outs or flare-ups of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea. As if that wasn’t enough, stress can also be the cause of those new wrinkles you found this morning!
Why Does Stress Cause Skin Issues?
There are several reasons why your skin may act up during stressful times, but one of the main culprits is the stress hormone cortisol. When you are stressed, your body thinks that it’s under attack and responds by producing cortisol and inflammatory messengers. This is nothing to worry about in the short term, but long-term stress increases the number of sebaceous glands in the skin which means your skin produces more oil. This can in turn lead to clogged pores and break-outs right before that big presentation you are stressing about!
Not only does long-term stress lead to increased oiliness, it also becomes harder for the skin to repair itself naturally and produce healthy collagen and elastin which can cause wrinkles and fine lines to appear. Additionally, it has been proven that stressing for an exam or interview impairs your skin barrier function which makes skin more vulnerable to aggressors like pollution and harsh chemicals.
What You Can Do
Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce and reverse the effects of stress on your skin. First, try to find the root cause of your stress, for example you may have too much at work or an unresolved issue with a friend which can cause your body to stay wound up. You may not even know that it is stressing you out!
Sometimes, stress is an unavoidable part of life, but you can incorporate practices that help you cope and reduce your stress level. For example, start a yoga or meditation practice to help calm your breathing and get more oxygen to your cells. Meditation is also proven to effectively help lower stress levels.
Another good way to reduce stress is to make a little time for self-care in your busy schedule. You may just have fifteen minutes, but you can make the most of them! Give yourself the spa treatment – light some candles, apply a soothing face mask and slide into a warm bath to help you and your skin to feel and look good again!