Why Stress is Damaging to Your Skin
Skin Fact: Your skin is largely affected by stress.
Stress releases a hormone called Cortisol, causing skin to become very oily, dry, and wrinkled. Exactly what we want to avoid!
In today's digital world, it seems that we've forgotten how to disconnect from work and social stressors. Performance pressures are everywhere. The flip side of all these so-called tools for efficiency is that we constantly push ourselves to the limits, where we have trained our bodies to ignore the need for personal time. In fact, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association notes that "chronic stress is becoming a public health crisis."
Chronic stress can negatively impact you in a lot of ways. For one, it is one of the major reasons of many skin problems.
So what happens to the skin when it's subjected to constant stress?
1. Wrinkling. When the body is stressed and releases Cortisol, blood sugar levels plummet. This triggers a process called Glycation, an after-effect of stress that hardens and damages collagen. Less collagen translates to more fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Dry skin. This, yet again, has to do with Cortisol release. In this case, Cortisol affects the skin's production of hyaluronic acid, the skin's natural moisturizer. Stress also wrecks havoc on the skin's protective qualities that help it keep hydration levels up. Once these elements are compromised, the skin becomes damaged and dry as an effect of stress.
3. Effects on the overall complexion. Stress also triggers the body to produce adrenaline, which can be helpful if you're in the outdoors running from a predator, but can hurt the skin when your body produces too much of it, too often. An adrenaline rush decreases the blood flow to the skin, depriving it of essential nutrients like oxygen. This causes a toxin build up, causing the skin to break out.
If you are looking to de-stress, Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Yoga - some reflective downtime will do you a world of good and keep stress at bay.
2. Adequate sleep - to allow your skin to repair what has been damaged during the day.
3. Exercise - to encourage the body to boost circulation. More blood flow to the skin equates to a radiant complexion.
4. Relaxing massage - a good massage improves vascular function and reduces stress.
5. Smile and laugh out loud! Literally. Laughing releases endorphines, the happy chemicals. Taking your sense of humor to work and looking for things to laugh about will keep the doctor (and the dermatologist) away!
Do you have more ideas to reduce stress? I'd love to hear your tips!