We have all experienced stress in one form or another and this makes us less likely to engage in healthy habits that boost our complexion. We might find that we’re working longer hours (with no room for exercise), eating less or sleeping late and these can all affect the supply of essential nutrients which should be flowing through our body. Here are some ways in which stress can affect your skin and some quick fixes too:
How Your Skin Reacts
Inflammation: When you are tense, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol making it harder for it to stay regulated, and leading to flare ups on your skin such as rashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis.
Puffiness: If you’re not sleeping well or long enough then you’ll probably be stressed throughout the day and might notice dark circles or bags around your eyes caused by the excess fluid that has gathered underneath your skin in that area.
Wrinkles: Frequently using hot water to wash up can physically stress your skin and strip it of natural oils leaving your skin dehydrated, dry and prone to wrinkling. Also when we’re stressed, we tend to make facial expressions which can further cause creases, folds or ridges in the skin.
Hyperpigmentation: Exposing your skin to the sun’s UV rays for prolonged periods could cause an uneven pigmentation in your skin and more extreme exposure could weaken your skin’s defenses and lead to skin cancer.
Hair Loss: Your scalp is also part of your skin. It’s just the skin that covers the head and when it comes under pressure, due to physiological stress such as an illness, the hair that comes out of your scalp can become thinner or even fall off.
How You Should React
Sleep well: Try getting at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep and shut off any electronic device an hour before you go to bed. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make yourself a cup of chamomile tea, read a book or listen to soothing music. The trick is not to use that time for strenuous activity or something you forgot to do during the day. Your body needs rest.
Breathe deeply: Take moments out of your day when you’re feeling stressed to perform deep breathing exercises. Quiet your mind, focus on what really matters and let everything else just melt away.
Eat healthy: Food impacts how we look and feel. Eat foods high in fibre that will feed the good bacteria in your gut and fight off inflammation, foods rich in antioxidants to protect your skin from damage due to free radicals in the environment or vitamin-dense foods that will boost your immunity and ward off illness.
Minimise heat: Reduce how much time you spend under the hot sun and don’t forget to apply sunscreen everyday. Also turn down the temperature when taking a shower or just washing your hands.
The way you feel on the inside often shows on the outside so, smile, laugh, relax, de-stress and watch your skin fall back in line.