We all live very busy lives nowadays and feeling stressed from time to time has become the norm. But what you may not realise is the effects this stress can cause on your skin.
Often I find when a client may present with a skin issue such as breakouts, inflammation, rosacea, eczema etc, they will first look at their skincare, or lack of it in order to fix the issue. And, while of course these things help, sometimes you need to look a little deeper at the cause and realise that what is happening internally in our bodies is very strongly connected to what is presenting itself externally on our skin. It can often cause new conditions in the skin or a flare up of existing conditions as well as in some cases causing the growth of excess facial hair.
Whether we are dealing with acute or chronic stress, both can trigger a response in our skin. When our body is dealing with stress, it tries to protect itself with the increased production of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is known for increasing the production of oil and sebum in our skin which will often lead to clogged pores, breakouts, inflammation etc.
Stress can also impact the bacteria working in our gut which can lead to inflammation. This inflammation can often be seen as inflammation and breakouts across the forehead. The skin is more reactive when going through this inflammatory response to stress which tends to exacerbate conditions like rosacea, eczema and psoriasis which in turn can lead to more redness, flakiness etc.
Stress may also cause you to nervously touch your face more than usual which will introduce more oils and bacteria to the skin, which certainly doesn’t help.
So how can you help your skin when going through stressful periods?
Try and maintain a healthy diet if possible. Try to avoid overly processed sugars as they are known for causing more inflammation both in our gut and on our skin.
Try to maintain your skincare routine as best you can. While feeling stressed and tired it may seem easier to just fall into bed without properly looking after your skin, but by maintaining your skincare routine you will be helping to maintain the good condition of your skin. Likewise, if your skin is suddenly presenting itself with breakouts etc that you may not ordinarily suffer with, don’t be tempted to do a complete overhaul of your skincare products as this condition is not permanent, and often by drastically changing your usual skincare routine in these circumstances can do more damage than good.
Try to find something that helps you to relax and unwind and beat the stress. For some of us it may be doing some exercise, it doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous, even just getting out for a gentle walk regularly may help. Others might find reading, or going for a relaxing bath may help. Whatever you find helps you to relax try to work in a little me-time throughout the week that will help you to unwind and ease your cares away.