It’s impossible to completely rule out stress from our lives, but when stress becomes a daily routine, it will affect your body.
The body transforms during stressful times. Stress weakens the immune system, triggers the production of different hormones, and leaves your mind restless. Such changes will make a mark on your skin.
If you notice that your skin acts up when you’re stressed, you’ve made a correct discovery. But how exactly does stress impact your skin? That’s what we are about to uncover.
Keep reading and find out how stress can affect your skin.
Stress Can Cause Breakouts
One of the effects of stress that you must have noticed is an acne breakout. Adult acne is quite common, and among many causes, stress is mentioned as a frequent trigger.
When stressed, your body will release stress hormones. Those hormones include cortisol that increases skin oil production. The increase in oil production can clog your pores and make your skin prone to acne.
A study from 2017 observed the correlation between stress and acne, and 74% of participants confirmed that stress and anxiety triggered or worsened their acne.
Stress Can Make Your Skin Feel Dry or Flaky
Boosted stress levels can change the texture of your skin. When you are under stress, cortisol can decrease the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, which means that your skin will lose moisture.
Stress can, therefore, lead to your skin looking dehydrated and flaky. Dry skin can make you feel itchy, which can only further aggravate your skin.
Stress Can Speed Up Skin Aging
No anti-aging product can compete with stress. Chronic stress can make changes to your skin that make your skin look older.
As it was already mentioned, stress can lead to an increased level of cortisol. Cortisol has been shown to decrease the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and break down collagen. Over time, that lack of hyaluronic acid and collagen can cause wrinkles and fine lines.
Also, stress can increase free radical formation, yet another factor that can speed up skin aging.
What you can learn from this is that the best anti-aging solution is minimizing stress.
Stress Leads to Bad Habits
Stress can turn your life upside down. You don’t think about your health, you can’t sleep, you forget to drink water, you stress-eat, you don’t have the energy to exercise, and overall, you replace good habits with bad ones.
The skin needs sleep, healthy food, and water to stay healthy. When you deprive the skin of that, it will act out.
Acne breakout isn't the only result of bad habits. Stress and poor lifestyle choice like lack of sleep can leave you with swelling under your eyes and dark circles.
Stress Makes the Immune System Hyperirritable
When your body is exposed to more stress than usual for a longer time, your immune system can become hyperirritable. What this does to your skin is that it can overreact to something that wouldn’t affect it otherwise.
Just think about how hyperirritable you become when you are stressed. You overreact or get irritated by situations and people you wouldn't even pay attention to if you were relaxed. Your skin does the same.
You can end up with a rash, bumps, and breakouts that would have never appeared if the stress hadn’t made your skin hyperirritable.
Not only will your skin become sensitive and easily irritable, but your skin problems will take more time to heal.
Stress Causes Skin Inflammation
Our bodies are fascinating. When your body feels a threat to health (in this case, the threat is stress), it will respond with inflammation.
The increased release of inflammatory chemicals will make your skin inflamed. The inflammation-triggered conditions can be acne, psoriasis, eczema, and contact dermatitis.
Stress Can Trigger or Worsen Hives
Hives is a kind of skin rash characterized by raised, red, and itchy bumps. Yes, stress can be responsible for triggering or worsening hives.
Stress can increase the release of histamine, an organic nitrogenous compound. The increased levels of histamine can lead to the appearance of hives. It can also prolong your condition if you already have hives and make it worse.
Stress Can Trigger Skin-Picking Disorder
Stress can worsen impulse-control conditions such as skin-picking disorder. Impulsive picking or pulling of the skin can be a coping response to negative emotions and increased anxiety.
The skin-picking disorder can leave you with damaged skin and skin infections. There is also a mental ripple effect, such as a feeling of shame that only adds to the stress. It is a vicious cycle you don’t want to get into.
How to Help Your Skin Recover?
Now that you know all the troubles that stress can cause to your skin, you might become more mindful of what you stress about. But what if the damage has been done?
Stressing even more about the stress-effects on your skin will make it worse. What you should do is deal with the aftermath.
Here are a few ways of destressing your skin and showing it some love:
- Introduce a healthy balanced diet and stay hydrated – What you put inside your body will show on the outside of it. Reward your skin with balanced nutrition and hydration.
- Use a high factor SPF – Apply SPF daily to protect your skin from the UV rays and its skin-aging consequences.
- Use a moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients – Moisturizer with such ingredients can help you improve itching, flaking, and redness.
- Use skin products with soothing ingredients – Products that contain aloe vera, chamomile, oatmeal, and other soothing ingredients can restore moisture loss.
- Focus on prevention and solution, not the problem – For example, to lower deadline stress, arm yourself with the right resource for studying and organize your study sessions in advance.
- Find stress managing strategies that work for you – It can be meditation, walking, exercising, spending time with friends, etc.
- Talk to a professional – If symptoms persist, turn to your trusted dermatologist.
What you ought to ask yourself is: Is it worth it? Whatever is stressing you out will pass. However, your skin will leave marks of chronic stress you’ve endured.
Nothing is worthy of ruining your health and your beautiful skin. So, embrace life as it is and learn how to manage stress whenever it tries to take you down.