Aaand we're back! In honor of National Stress Awareness Day on April 16th, we want to talk about stressed-out skin. You’ve probably heard about the different ways stress affects your body (think: headaches, upset stomach, disrupted sleeping, etc.), but did you know your skin can be negatively affected too? It’s one thing to be stressed out (whether about work, your love life, or just little things that are causing big problems), but to also have stressed-out skin?! Mm, no thank you! Keep reading for the various ways stressed-out skin presents itself and tips on how to give yourself the TLC you need during these difficult times.
First, let’s understand what exactly is going on under the surface. During times of stress, the stress hormone cortisol is released and essentially wreaks havoc on your immune system and causes all kinds of problems throughout your body. In the skin’s case, the skin’s barrier becomes weaker and makes it harder for it to protect itself from free radicals and pollutants. This hormone also slows down the production of collagen, antioxidants, and other natural moisturizers that help keep our skin in its best shape. This all results in:
Stress can disrupt the one thing that you might already be having trouble with: sleep. This inevitably leads to a breaking down of the skin’s structure, a reduction of circulation, puffy eyes, wrinkles in the under eye area, and of course the worst side effect of them all: dark circles that you can’t seem to cover up no matter how much concealer you apply.
Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Cortisol slows down the production of collagen and elastin, which leads to worry lines in the forehead and around the eyes, which are the two facial areas that express stress the most.
Dry or Red Patches
Stress negatively affects the skin’s natural barrier, which causes skin to become dehydrated and inhibits the skin’s ability to heal itself. This leads to the appearance of dry or red patches and other forms of skin irritation..
Since your skin is “weakened” during times of stress, it cannot can’t renew itself (i.e., promote skin cell turnover to allow your skin to revive itself now and then), which leads to a dull complexion and longer healing time.
Unexpected Flare-Ups and Breakouts
You might notice your skin becomes oilier than normal when you are stressed, which can unfortunately and inevitably lead to oily skin, acne, and other related skin problems, including rosacea and eczema.
Other ways to manage stress/stressed-out skin:
- Drink a lot of water! Just like how stress can negatively impact your skin’s condition, being dehydrated will result in dry, tight, and itchy skin. It’s recommended you drink around 2 liters of water every day, but start where you feel most comfortable and go from there.
- Give yourself a facial! You can tackle two things at once by getting some much-needed R&R and making sure your skin can revive itself for a brighter you.
- Give meditation a try! Practicing mindfulness and getting into a more positive and peaceful mindset can help keep your woes in check. This is especially helpful if your skin issues are putting you in a bad mood and you are at your wit’s end about it all.
- Exercise! Just as Elle Woods would say, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” That doesn’t mean you have to go outside and run a marathon, but doing anything to release endorphins (aka the happy hormones) can really lift your mood and help reduce stress levels. We recommend relaxing exercises like yoga, deep stretching and breathwork.
- Sleep! It can be difficult to manage a sleep routine that allows you to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night so be sure to sneak in a short nap or two whenever you get the chance. It isn’t called beauty rest for nothing!
We hope some of these tips help you keep your stress and stressed-out skin under control. If your stress becomes too overwhelming then please seek out a professional to find the underlying cause of your troubles. Don’t forget that we’ll always be cheering you on no matter what life throws at you!
Cover Photo Credit: aiony