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Less Stress, Better Skin
Are you stressed right now? You wouldn’t be the only one. Research suggests that over a third of Brits feel stressed at least one full day a week. Furthermore, most people in the UK feel stressed nine days a month on average. This stress not only leads to serious health issues but also impacts how we look and how we feel, especially when it comes to our skin. So, what role does stress play on our appearance and is it possible to improve our skin by reducing stress?
The problem with stress
We often see stress as an entirely adverse reaction. However, sometimes, stress is good. After all, stress is the natural response of your body and is there to protect you. If lions are chasing you, you want your stress response to kick in to better enable you to think fast and use your adrenaline wisely. Where stress is detrimental is when it keeps you up all night, intensifying your worries or creating an inflammation, causes pain or triggers a flare-up of an existing condition.
The problem with stress comes from the fact that your body doesn’t differentiate the different kinds of stress. Whether it is emotional, environmental, physical or psychological, your body will typically respond to stress in the same way. This means that minor stress, such as running to catch a train or bus, and significant pressure, such as a family emergency, will have the same detrimental impact on your health and on your skin.
How does stress impact skin?
In October, Dr David Jack and I hosted the first of series of events entitled Wellness Wednesdays. The first event was incredibly positive and during which, aesthetic doctor, Dr David Jack talked about the negative ways that stress can affect the skin, while I gave practical advice on how to lower stress levels and how to manage stressful situations in a healthier, more mindful way.
Dr David Jack explained there are several ways that stress can cause an adverse effect on the skin which includes;
One of the ways that the body responds to stress is to cause inflammation. This internal inflammation in the body can manifest in the skin, cause breakouts, or a flare-up of conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea.
If you have oily or combination skin, then you may notice that stress increases acne breakouts. This is because of the stress hormone; cortisol increases the activity of the sebaceous glands. These will then emit more levels of oil than is normal, which can cause blocked pores and spots.
Dry and dull skin
If you have normal to dry skin, then you may find that stress can make your skin feel even drier and tighter. This is because stress increases our adrenaline levels which cause our bodies to sweat more to try and cool and calm the body down. Consequently, the body can become dehydrated, which will show in the skin, which may feel more irritated or become dull, dry and flaky.
Interfere with your skincare routine
During periods of high stress, you may find that you don’t have time or don’t give your skin the regular TLC that you usually provide it. You may also find that, during stress, you drink less water or drink more alcohol, which can dry out the skin, and you may not maintain a healthy diet. All of these aspects can aggravate existing skin issues.
Dr David Jack explains; “Every person reacts to stress differently and has unique skin complete with its own positive attributes and issues. Not all of these skin issues mentioned above will appear when you are stressed. However, depending on your skin type, you may notice that your skin has its own adverse reaction to stress. It can help to have a professional skin consultation in which you can learn more about your specific skin type and the best ways to look after your skin on a daily basis and in times of stress.”
Improve your skin during stress
- Maintain a simple, yet effective skincare routine
You may not feel like you have the time for an elaborate skincare routine when you’re in a stressful situation. However, for healthy skin, a short and simple skin routine is usually best. Focus on using cleansers and moisturisers that are adapted to your skin type and maintaining your routine, even if you do feel stressed. It can really help to do a weekly skin treatment when you are feeling stressed, which allows you to relax with a spa-like break, if only for 20 minutes.
In fact, during your skincare routine is a great time to take stock of how you’re feeling. Try to be mindful and spend time moisturising and massaging products into the skin while following breathing exercises to bring your stress levels down.
- Sleep well
For healthy skin and to lower stress, getting sufficient sleep is essential. You should aim to sleep for between seven and nine hours per night. If stress is impacting your sleep, try to establish an optimal evening routine by leaving your phone outside of the bedroom and avoiding blue-light emitting devices for an hour or two before bed. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and comfortable.
It may also help to follow a Yoga Nidra meditation before bed which focuses on increasing calmness and decreasing anxiety.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise is a fantastic way to banish stress and release feel-good endorphins. However, remember to remove make-up before exercising to prevent it from clogging your pores. Make sure to gently clean your skin after exercise too and drink plenty of water, so your skin remains hydrated and glowing.
Find your way to manage stress and improve your skin
If you feel like your stress levels are severely impacting your health and skin, then it is essential to uncover the reasons behind your stress and how best you can personally manage it. At my practice, I use a bespoke blended therapy complete with a practical stress-busting toolkit that you can apply as soon as you feel stressed. This includes meditations, breathing exercises, visualisations and mindfulness. Find out more by booking your free 15-minute consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If stress has impacted your skin, then why not book an appointment with Dr David Jack? After a skin and lifestyle assessment, Dr David Jack can recommend the ideal treatments and products that your skin needs to remove signs of stress and restore your natural beauty.