Don’t you think there has been an increased awareness regarding skin care? Well, the 5-step daily skincare routine is making rounds on social media: Cleansing, Toning, Serum, Moisturizing, and Sunscreen. Scrubs, packs, face masks and whatnot.
Following these steps can greatly benefit some people’s skin. Although, even after following a rigorous skincare routine, your skin might look undesirable. Your skin does not only rely on what you apply to it. It also depends on what is happening within you.
In today’s competitive world, it is common to have stress from time to time. While it certainly affects your mental health, you may find it a long shot that it affects your skin, too. With this article, we will discuss how stress can have a lasting effect on your skin.
We will also discuss ways to overcome skin problems caused by stress. Followed by how to deal with stress altogether.
Effects of Stress on Skin
The reason behind acne is majorly hormonal. But if you have acne without any hormonal problems, you should look within. It might be due to stress. Whenever your body experiences stress, it overstimulates sebaceous glands, which are responsible for releasing oil. The production of excessive oil clogs the pores and skin, leading to acne. Even dead skin cells make acne break out.
2. Dull Skin
Stress makes your body produce a hormone named Cortisol, often known as the stress hormone. It is this hormone that triggers sebaceous glands. It also reduces the production of new skin cells and slows down their process of appearing on the surface. This, in turn, leads to the accumulation of dead skin cells, which makes your skin look dull. Stress obstructs the supply of oxygen that nourishes your skin. This way, your skin loses its glow, and you have a depression-sagging face.
3. Dark Circles
Dark circles are a common symptom of stress. It is one of the most visible signs that make you look tired and older. A stressed body diverts the blood supply from the skin to other vital organs, such as the heart and lungs, which can deal with it. Besides, emotional stress can also cause the delicate capillaries around your eyes to rupture, leaking blood and darkening the area around your eyes.
4. Undereye Bags
Undereye bags are the swelling that appears under your eyelids. It is a sign of skin sagging that occurs due to loss of elasticity of skin. Sagging of skin is normal with aging, but with stress, this can happen prematurely. Excess Cortisol production results in the loss of Collagen and elastin, causing bags under the eye and sagged skin. The loss of firmness in the skin will lead to depression and a sagging face.
Your skin has an outer layer that contains proteins and lipids that protect the layers underneath. This layer is called Stratum Corneum. It is responsible for keeping the skin cells hydrated. Its underperformance leads to dryness and Itchiness. Some studies have shown that stress affects the optimal functioning of the Stratum Corneum. It thus affects the protective barrier and reduces the water retention of the skin.
As mentioned before, the uppermost layer of skin works as a barrier. This protective layer comprises tightly packed epidermal cells that prevent bacteria and other toxins from entering the skin. Now, with stress, this layer is affected. This allows bacteria and other toxins to not only enter the skin but also reach deeper. With the skin’s immunity at stake, infections are bound to happen.
7. Wrinkles and Fine Lines
As the loss of elasticity caused by stress leads to depression, sagging face, and premature aging, it also causes wrinkles. Besides, stressful situations often make your eyebrows furrow involuntarily. Having this expression repeatedly on your face can also make a mold for wrinkles and fine lines.
Rashes are caused due to a low immune system that lets harmful bacteria enter the body. An imbalance of bacteria in the gut and skin leads to redness and itchiness of skin. While stress compromises the restoring system of the skin, it also releases histamines in the blood, creating allergies. This may lead to various skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, hives, cold sores and contact dermatitis
9. Uneven Skin
What can be worse than a depression-sagging face? It’s a saggy face, along with an uneven skin tone. We know that stress can make your skin texture uneven by inflaming it and causing wrinkles. But it can also lead to uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation. This leads to patchy skin that lacks radiance. Dark spots may accompany it on specific areas of your face.
10. Skin Cancer
Stress harms the optimal growth and death of cells and the release of hormones. This can act as a base for diseases like cancer. Studies have found that people who have been diagnosed with the most fatal skin cancer- Melanoma, are more likely to have experienced stressful situations in the past. Stress is also said to fasten the growth of Tumors formed in Melanoma.
Besides these skin problems, stress can affect your face in other ways, too, like reducing the production of a pigment called melanin that gives color to your hair, leading to the graying of hair. It also causes excess hair loss. Stress may also damage your tooth as it makes you habitual to teeth grinding. Besides, people under stress tend to chew the inside of their mouths, resulting in sore lips.
Tips for Skin Care
- It is advised to keep the surface of your skin away from dirt, dead cells, and excessive oil by using non-comedogenic products (cosmetics that won’t clog your pores).
- One of the best ways to get rid of dull and flaky skin is to exfoliate regularly with a mild scrub.
- Use mild soaps that won’t dry out your skin. Follow it up with applying moisturizer immediately.
- Handle your skin carefully; for instance, use lukewarm water instead of hot water to wash your face, and dry it by tapping the towel rather than rubbing it.
- Try using only those products that are essential for your skin. Avoid putting too many chemicals, and this will reduce the risks of skin allergies.
- It is also necessary to use products that can provide essential ingredients like Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid.
- You can include Coconut and Olive oil in your skincare to prevent depression and a sagging face, as it has antioxidants that remove free radicals.
- Include sunscreen in your skincare routine. Apply sunblock when you are indoors, as natural light can also be strong enough to damage your skin.
- Avoid using products that have harsh ingredients like alcohol, sulfates, and artificial fragrances. They can trigger sensitive skin and cause dryness.
How to Reduce Stress
Having a healthy skincare routine and using the right products can show great results on your skin. However, to have a long-lasting effect, you need to fix deeper problems. Reducing stress will not only lead to better skin but also better health in general.
The following are a few ways to handle and overcome stress:
Meditation is the best way to deal with stress or other mental health-related problems. Contrary to popular beliefs, there is no particular way to meditate. Be it mindful meditation, spiritual, enchanting mantra, or regulated breathing, any meditation is definitely going to help you deal with stress.
All you need to do is close your eyes for 20 minutes, relax, and reflect. If you are completely new to meditation, you can start by observing and regulating your breath while keeping your eyes closed. You can slowly try to explore various methods of meditation. The key is to do what suits your body and calms you.
More than often, the one thing the new generation is ready to sacrifice is sleep. We need to understand the importance of sufficient sleep. It would not only help you deal with stress but also make you feel refreshed. It will ensure your mood is better than when you slept poorly.
Besides, they call it beauty sleep for a reason. The level of Cortisol is lowest during sleep time. It is the time when the blood flow of our skin increases, repairing the damages caused during the day due to UV exposure. Our body rebuilds collagen and reduces wrinkles, making the skin look younger.
You may wonder how exercise will help you deal with stress and skin problems. Exercising is a holy grail not only for your body but also for your mind. Exercising doesn’t have to mean that you have to hit the gym necessarily.
There are many ways of exercising to keep your mind calm and lower stress levels. You can take up fun activities like Zumba, aerobics, swimming, or yoga. Even walking enough steps in a day can show significant results over time. Any activity that increases your body’s oxygen level will help make your skin firm by improving its elasticity.
4. Eating Healthy
You don’t have to rely entirely on beauty products for glowing and healthy skin. What you eat reflects directly on your skin. Therefore, try consuming food that gives you the nutrients that your skin might lack because of hormonal changes induced by stress.
Eat protein-rich food to increase the production of collagen. This will help you regulate enzymes that cause acne and breakouts. You should also eat sources of Vitamin C as it contains antioxidants and destroys free radicals. Also, drink plenty of water to help increase blood flow to your skin.
Stress affects the natural cycle of the processes that occur in the body. It causes hormones to imbalance; it prevents them from doing their work. It reduces the body’s immunity to fight diseases.
It reduces the production of new skin cells while limiting the supply of oxygen to your skin simultaneously. These and many other factors can take a toll on your skin. Stress leaves its mark by giving you a depression-sagging face, dark circles, rashes, infections, etc.
It may not be possible to eliminate stress from your life. However, it is concerning when it is persistent and constantly recurring. It is better to learn how to control it before it gets the better out of your life.
By just inculcating some new habits, you can overcome this problem. Regular exercising, meditation, and sufficient sleep can change the game completely for you.
Let us know in the comments which lifestyle change you will start with to get on board the journey of a stress-free life.