Stress and Your Skin
While dermatologists are
still debating whether
stress actually causes
skin disorders, they seem to agree
that stress definitely triggers or aggravates
such as acne, hives,
warts, cold sores and blisters.
And even if stress does not
actually show up on your skin as one of these conditions, it is one of the chief
contributors to an increased population of free radicals in the body, which, in
turn, has been discovered to be a major cause of premature
aging. Emotional or
mental trauma can cause you to spoil your
face or frown or pout, and constant
muscular contractions can eventually become permanent fine lines and
mechanism is the body's built-in way of responding to stress. In times of
"fight-or-flight," the flow of blood (and
nutrients) is directed to the areas of
the body considered vital for responding to the stress and withdrawn from areas
considered non-essential, such as the skin. So is the flow of
oxygen, making it
difficult for the skin to "breathe."
situations become frequent, the skin is consistently starved of both blood and
oxygen, making it dull and lifeless, less supple, less
hydrated and more prone
to clogged pores and breakouts.
Dermatologists have found that when you're stressed out, your body releases a
hormone called cortisol. When cortisol levels increase, oil production increases
and sometimes that will cause acne in patients that have never even had acne
Stress does not only impact the
immune system, it also undermines
And imperfect digestion adversely affects
skin health, and, indeed your overall
health, in two ways -- first, your body does not absorb all the nutrients from
the foods you eat and second, undigested impurities tend to accumulate in the
body faster than the body can get rid of them.
How to figure out when a flare-up is on its way? Yes, check
out these warning signs:
Your skin is oilier than usual. The German researchers found that stress
causes the skin's sebaceous glands to secrete more
Tiny blackheads and whiteheads are developing.
Your skin looks pale or flushed. Stress causes the blood vessels to
constrict or dilate abnormally, so there's either too little or too much blood
flow to the skin.
Your skin may be more
sensitive than normal. Under stress, inflammatory neuropeptides are released in the skin, causing sensitivity.
Tips to stay ahead of stress by taking better care of your skin.
Address the source of your stress and take good care of your body.
better, sleep more,
exercise and set aside time each day for reflection and
relaxation. Exercising is a wonderful way to deal with stress. It releases
endorphins ý it helps people relax.
Stick to your skin-care routine. Under stress, we tend to skimp on
Use a toner. It will help clear up excess oil.
Avoid hot showers- stress has a negative effect on the barrier
function of the skin, resulting in water loss that inhibits the skin's ability
to repair itself after an injury.
A daily warm oil
self-massage is recommended as a luxurious way to balance the body, mind and
emotions as well as lubricate the skin, making it supple and lustrous. Use a
fragrant aroma massage oil for the dual benefits of massage and aromatherapy,
or use a specially blended herbal massage oil for personal balance.
Use detergent-free soap.
Apply treatment products before a acne breakout occurs. Look for products
with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
There are some easy, practical things you can do to reduce the amount of
stress in your life.
Be realistic and don't try to be perfect, or expect others to be so.
Don't over-schedule; cut out an activity or two when you start to feel
Get a good night's sleep.
Get regular exercise to manage stress -- just not excessive or
compulsive exercise -- and follow a
Learn to relax by building time into your schedule for reading or a
nice long bath.
Pay attention to keeping your
mind, body and emotions balanced, and the results will show up as a clear,