Regardless of where you are in life, whether you are a student working studiously in class, a worker bee climbing up the corporate ladder or even a parent caring for a child, stress is everywhere around us and it might have a hold on us if we do not have the right ways to manage them. That is not to say that stress is all bad since it could very well motivate us to achieve greater heights. But when stress lingers around the wrong person, it could make them miserable. More than just a state of mind, being stressed has been found to affect us negatively in other ways as well. It has been found that the largest organ in our body, the skin, would not do well under stress and it could react in a number of ways like psoriasis, acne attacks and even eczema flare-ups. You would realise in your schooling days that when you start worrying about your exams during crunch time, you find your face reacting in pesky pimples that stick around at the worst possible time.
Why Do Our Skin Feel Stress
It has to be said that everyone’s skin and body reacts differently to stress and that is because we have different genetic makeups that affect our body. It was also discovered that because our skin isn’t able to tell apart the different types of stress in the forms of physical, emotional, psychological and environmental, our skin reacts wildly and this stress would take a toll on its exterior.
How Our Skin Is Affected By Stress
These are four ways in which stress can affect our skin and body.
For stress to affect and inflict inflammation on our skin, we need to understand the connection between our skin, brain and gut. This is because of how when our mind perceives stress, it actually slows down our digestion in the gut and if the stress persists over a period of time, it could have detrimental effects on our digestion, affecting the good bacteria in our gut and allowing an overgrowth of those strains of bacteria that are harmful. Scientists have even discovered that those high levels of stress that destroy the natural balance of gut microbes are comparable to what a high-fat diet would do to us. This is no light matter since the imbalance in gut microbes could cause dysbiosis, one of its downsides is that it would cause the lining of your intestines to be permeable and likely to cause bodywide inflammation. This internal inflammation is exactly what would cause your skin to show up in acne or eczema.
Dry Your Skin
Something about stress is that it would trigger our fight or flight response and from that, we might experience a sudden rise in our adrenaline and cortisol levels. While that would give you the lift to get over your problems better, the increase in adrenaline would cause you to sweat more by activating the eccrine glands in your body for your body to cool down. This would then make you dehydrated at a faster rate since you lose much more water from the sweat. If you are not someone who has a habit of hydrating your body regularly, you might find yourself on the receiving end of dry skin. As a consequence of dry skin, you are much more likely to fall under the weight of eczema breakouts.
Worsen Existing Skin Conditions
Because of how stress releases adrenaline and cortisol into our systems, our body might react with physiological responses like the increased heart rate and the bump in blood pressure in our body. To be more precise, when the body overproduces cortisol, it actually causes our immune system to weaken since stress has a direct line of effect to our immune system. When our immune system is weakened, it would result in inflammatory responses like eczema or psoriasis breakout. This would be exceptionally bad news for those who are already predisposed to such skin conditions and what stress would do is to worsen these conditions and set you back a few steps in your skincare journey.
Make Your Skin Oilier
Let it be said that the shift in our hormone levels, including our cortisol levels, can result in those unsightly acne breakouts. While the cortisol levels function as a way to prepare us for battle and raise our confidence sky-high, the side effects to that are that the hormones would ramp up the activity of our sebaceous glands in our skin, causing issues like the increased levels of oil on our skin, blockages in our pores and a higher tendency of experiencing acne breakouts.
How You Can Care For Your Skin
Feeling stressed is a part and parcel of life. If you can’t control your levels of stress by having adequate sleep, a healthy diet and some form of exercise in your life, you can at least control the effects of what stress can do on your skin by maintaining a well-oiled skin care routine. How you can do so is by utilising gentle cleansers and moisturisers to remove any excess oil found on the skin and to keep the skin hydrated to prevent eczema flare-ups. Fighting stress-related skin issues is a very active process and something that you need to take charge of to ensure you don’t fall to the side when stress comes around for a visit.