A deadline at work is creeping closer and you’re nowhere near being done with the project. A toxic friend won’t stop texting you. Your daily traffic commute leaves you with no time for yourself. Worrying about your child, a test, your future that keeps you up all night.
Stress is all too common in our daily lives and is triggered by problems both big and small. In the distant past, our hunter-gatherer ancestors depended on the flight-or-fight response to stay safe in an environment filled with predators and danger. A tiny part of your brain, the hypothalamus, releases hormones that trigger this stress response: your heart beats faster, your breath races, and your muscles get ready to fly or fight. This response was designed to keep humans safe, but if your body is flooded with these hormones on a daily basis, it can cause some serious health problems, from headaches and insomnia to depression and high blood pressure.
Did you know that stress can impact your skin as well? Maybe you’ve noticed that when work feels overwhelming, your eczema flares or a new pimple appears. Stress can irritate your skin, eventually making it age faster and look and feel less healthy. To help you combat the negative effects of stress on your skin, this guide reviews how stress affects your skin, what you can do about it, and how you can better deal with the stress in your life.
The Effects of Stress on Your Skin
Stress causes a chemical reaction in your body that has a direct effect on your skin. Stress causes inflammation, and it also increases production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol makes the glands in your skin produce more oil, and inflammation and other problems can make it harder for your skin to recover from or fight off irritation. The negative effects of stress on your skin include:
Stress can trigger acne flares, including whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. Acne is caused by pores of the skin filling with oil and dead skin cells. Because stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, which tells your glands to produce more oil, the pores on your face are filled with excess oil. Along with acne, oily skin can cause a shiny appearance and make your skincare routine a challenge. Getting an acne deep cleaning facial can help with these acne flares.
Aggravated Skin Problems
No one has perfect skin, and for those who struggle with chronic skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, stress is bad news. Inflammation in your body triggered by stress can cause these conditions to flare up and become uncomfortable and embarrassing, even when they are normally otherwise controllable.
Poor Skin Routine
When we are under stress, it is easy to let the small things slip. Sleep, healthy eating, hair care, and daily routines can feel less important in the face of the hard things you’re dealing with. You might simply not have the energy to carry out your skin routine as you had before, which can cause the health of your skin to suffer. Plus, not eating well or getting enough sleep, which tends to happen when you’re stressed, can have a negative impact on your skin health.
Slacking in your skincare routine can lead to dehydrated skin, especially if you forget to moisturize or don’t do it as often. Plus, the fight-or-flight response in your brain also increases the production of adrenaline, which activates the sweat glands. This means that your body loses water more quickly, drying out your skin and making you feel dehydrated. Dry skin can trigger eczema and is a common cause of premature aging.
Reduce the Negative Effects of Stress on Your Skin
All these problems will leave you wondering how to reduce the negative effects of stress on your skin. If you’re currently experiencing added levels of stress and starting to see the effects of stress on your skin, there are a few things you can do now to reduce those effects.
Simplify Your Skin Care Routine
Reduce your skincare routine to the basics: daily washing and moisturizer. Pick simple, clean options that will treat your skin well. Commit to taking care of your skin, even if it is just washing your face at the end of the day, even when you are tired. The few minutes to take care of yourself might even help you feel a little better.
Get a Facial
A hydrating facial will add some needed moisture back into your dry skin. You also might like a glycolic acid peel to remove dirt and dead skin, and give your skin a new glow of health. A facial treatment will not only help your skin heal but going to the spa and taking some time to be alone and focused on something other than the stressors in your life can help your whole body recover from the negative effects of stress.
Use Witch Hazel
If you have oily skin, try applying witch hazel to your face in place of toner. Traditional toners may be too harsh when you aren’t feeling your best. Witch hazel is a skin soother that will shrink your pores, remove makeup that was left behind by your cleanser, and reduce the oiliness of your skin. This can help prevent and treat acne caused by stress and reduce inflammation.
Pat Your Face Dry
This technique will help your skin recover from stress without adding more to your skincare routine. Instead of rubbing your face dry, use a towel to gently pat it. Pulling on your skin roughly with a towel can irritate it further and dry out your face.
Relieve Your Stress
Even if you take great care of your skin, your entire body will suffer if you still struggle with stress in your day-to-day life. The best thing you can do for your skin, and your whole body, is to look at the factors in your life that trigger stress and see what you can do to reduce them. Sometimes, some factors, such as traffic or your children, are here to stay. In that case, you’ll be better off finding ways to deal with stress in a healthy way.
How to Reduce Stress in Your Life
We could all do with less stress in our lives as well as the physical problems that come with it. To reduce stress in your life, try these tips:
Exercise is one of the best ways out there to reduce stress and calm your nerves. Plus, it is great for your body and good for your skin. Exercise gives you an instant boost and has long-term positive effects on your mental health. It sends blood throughout your body, encouraging the cells to heal, and releases feel-good hormones.
Take a minute each day to sit still by yourself and notice your thoughts. Meditation can help you feel more at peace with yourself and your life and can help reduce your stress.
Even if you don’t feel like you have time for exercise or meditation, you can take a 10-minute break when things get tough. Count backward from ten, get up and walk around your office or even outside, or look at a beautiful picture that makes you feel happy. Sometimes getting away from a situation for just a few minutes can help you shift your perspective.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is when your body heals itself. Make getting to bed on time a daily priority, even when you feel overwhelmed by all there is to do. Your brain will function better on a good night’s rest, making it easier to deal with your challenges the next day.
If you’ve tried to manage stress on your own but still keep finding yourself overwhelmed with no relief in sight, it is time to start reaching out to others. Start by talking to your friends and letting those close to you know how you feel. Ask for help getting things done—you might need an extension on your project, or your spouse to cook dinner, or a neighbor to pick up your kids from school. Sometimes, you might need to schedule an appointment with a therapist, who can help talk you through what is causing so much stress and teach you new ways to cope.
Treat Your Skin Right
Stress is no walk in the park, and unfortunately, it is far too common for so many people. If you’re feeling stressed out, this guide on how to reduce the negative effects of stress on your skin will help you pamper your skin when life gets tough.
Interested in getting more help for your skin? For more skincare tips, follow our blog. Contact us at Infinity Laser Spa today to learn more about our soothing, healing facials and other services, including laser hair removal.