Stress is Showing on Your Skin—But You Can Fix It
Did you know that your stress shows up on your skin? It may not be fair, but unfortunately it’s true.
Everyone experiences stressful moments or days, but when the stress becomes chronic, it may cause acne, wrinkles, or even hair loss.
The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can help us manage our stress and keep our skin looking its best.
How stress affects your skin
When your stress level rises, your body releases cortisol—the stress hormone. For thousands of years, this response has kept humans alive by quickly activating the muscles and heart to fight or escape danger. But elevated cortisol over time can negatively affect your body, especially your skin.
An excess of cortisol causes the oil glands in your skin to increase production, which can lead to acne. That’s already unpleasant news, but one study showed that sustained high stress reduced the skin’s ability to heal itself by up to 40%. So if you get acne, it’s likely to last even longer.
When you’re stressed, have you ever noticed that you furrow your brow or clench your teeth? These repetitive actions cause wrinkles in the forehead and fine lines around the eyes and mouth. Chronic stress can lead to premature aging, which lessens the skin’s elasticity and causes wrinkles and sagginess.
Dry, itchy skin
Cortisol affects the skin’s ability to retain moisture. It also weakens the skin’s defence against allergens and germs, leading to dry, itchy patches. It can also flare up existing conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.
4 Ways to Reduce Stress and Help Your Skin
Consistent and sufficient sleep (at least 7 hours a night) is critical for keeping your stress at bay. One study showed that people with insomnia saw an increase in cortisol production for 24 hours following their sleep loss. During sleep, your cortisol level goes down. Additionally, sleep helps maintain your immune system, making it less likely you’ll deal with the skin conditions associated with stress.
Exercise is one of the quickest ways to reduce your stress. Even if you can’t drop everything for a full workout, a 15-minute walk can reduce your cortisol levels and regulate your emotions. Exercise has also been shown to improve your all-important sleep.
We’ve often heard that laughter is the best medicine, but in the case of stress relief, this saying may actually be true! One study showed that laughter was a very effective method to reduce stress and anxiety in cancer patients. So call a friend or take in an episode of your favorite comedy.
Deep breathing activates your body’s relaxation response and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to calm yourself down on the spot. Breathe from your low abdomen—in for 2 beats and out for 4. In just 3-4 minutes, you will feel the stress lessen.
You can’t eliminate stress from your life, but you can take charge and regulate it. You’ll feel better, and your skin will thank you.
Let’s get healthier, together,
Your friends at Santo Remedio
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