Stress is a universal fact of life. Many of us are familiar with the harmful effects negative stress can have on our mental health and physical wellbeing, but what about the correlation between our stress and skin? When we are dealing with significant stress, our precious skin can get a little stressed out, too, inviting a whole host of health problems along with it.
Stress can usher in undesirable skin problems as well as contribute to premature aging of the skin. While stress is virtually unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to prevent its effects from leaving a lasting impression on your skin. After all, no one wants to wear their stress! But first, it is important to understand the stress and skin connection.
3 Ways Stress Affects Your Skin
Stress and skin problems go hand in hand. Fundamentally, stress is an evolutionary byproduct of our survival instinct, also known as the “fight or flight” response. When we perceive stress, our body is more reactive. This dates back to humankind’s early dates when our ancestors had to be wary of threats like wild animals or starvation. Lucky for us, that instinct never truly went away. While we are rarely looking over our shoulders to prepare for a possible animal attack, we certainly face monumental stressors in our day-to-day lives (that may even feel like a wild animal is attacking us).
So, what does this have to do with our skin? As you know, our skin is our body’s largest organ, so it makes perfect sense our skin would be a part of this reactive process.
- Stress causes inflammation. The skin, the mind, and the gut are all interconnected. When our bodies perceive stress, it can slow down digestion. This can lead to a bacterial imbalance within the gut. When our bodies experience internal inflammation (as many of us have experienced an upset stomach when we were stressed), this can cause skin inflammation as well. It is almost as if our entire biological system is on “overdrive.”
- Stress sucks the moisture from your skin. When you are in that “fight or flight” mode, your body begins pooling resources to prepare you for what lies ahead. This means our brains can redirect water from our skin to other organs that may need it more. But that’s not all. In addition to this reallocation of resources as a response to stress, we also tend to sweat when we are stressed, thus losing even more precious moisture that keeps our skin hydrated. Our skin requires plenty of hydration. When we’re sweating too much, our skin can dry out and become itchy and flaky.
- Stress hormones intensify existing skin conditions. Whether you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, allergic reactions such as hives, or other dermatological conditions, stress can worsen your existing skin conditions, thanks to adrenaline and cortisol pumping through your system. Too much cortisol can weaken the immune system, making it harder for your body to regulate your existing skin conditions. This creates a domino effect. You are faced with a stressful situation that triggers a skin response and activates a pre-existing skin condition. This activation causes even more stress as you are now concerned about your skin as well as whatever initiated the stress response in the first place. What a vicious cycle!
3 Ways Stress and Skin Problems Can Unfortunately Align
It is like the perfect storm. When you’re stressed, the last thing you want to worry about is your skin breaking out or experiencing damage. However, stress and skin aging are closely related. Stress can cause wrinkles. You can actually speed up your skin’s aging by failing to manage the copious amounts of stress in your life.
- Cortisol can break down skin’s collagen and elastin. Not only can cortisol impact your immunity, but it can also attack the elements that are paramount to your skin’s elasticity. As we age, collagen and elastin become more and more precious. We want to produce as much collagen and elastin as we can to maintain a youthful and vibrant appearance. Therefore, it is essential to determine the best ways to slow down the production of cortisol and manage stress before this breakdown occurs (or continues).
In addition to wrinkles, chronic stress can increase the depth of the fine lines on our faces. We tend to hold tension throughout various locations in the body. If your brow is furrowed or your mouth is turned into a frown as a reaction to the stress in your life, you will deepen the fine lines on your face, contributing to an aged appearance.
- Your skin can sense stressors, including temperature, pain, and physical tension. It is no wonder eczema flare-ups increase with stress. As your body pools resources as part of the “fight or flight” response, tries to cool you off by sweating, and manages a weakened immune system thanks to abundant cortisol, eczema can take advantage of the situation. Stress and skin rashes continue to elevate as your body tries to cope with this irritation. This is also true for people who suffer from rosacea or even those who experience fever blisters.
If you suffer from acne, including adult acne, you can expect that to flare up too. Stressed-out skin can become oily, clogging pores and bringing on a bout of blemishes in a variety of locations. If you experienced acne as a teenager, you can relate. Part of that experience was due to the hormonal changes in your body, but pubescent stress was also a factor in your early breaking out days.
- Another way stress and skin problems align is the immune response to stress can sometimes make it harder for your skin to repair itself after injury. Bruises or cuts may take longer to heal and may remain visible for more extended periods of time. Your skin needs plenty of resources to regenerate after experiencing trauma. When your body is allocating those resources to attend to your stress response, your injuries are put on the “repair waitlist” while your body combats the stressor.
3 Ways to Combat Stress and Improve Your Life (and Skin)
The more you know, the more you can fight the negative impacts stress can have on your skin. In addition to practical methods such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and other forms of stress management, there are other techniques and services you can take advantage of to combat stress and improve your life, your wellness, and, best of all, your skin.
- Fight against fine lines and wrinkles with Stress is inevitable, but skin damage and skin aging do not have to be. If you are noticing years’ worth of furrowed brows, squinting eyes, and frowns have taken a toll on your beautiful facial skin, invest in Botox® treatment. Botox® will restrict repetitive muscular movements that cause fine lines and wrinkles. You will find the results will boost self-confidence and increase endorphins to combat the negative stress in your life, all while giving you vibrant and smooth skin.
- Book a Not only does massage therapy feel good and aid in stress relief and relaxation, but it also stimulates the lymphatic system, encouraging toxins stuck in your muscle tissues to filter out through the body. Massage therapy can release tension within your sore muscles while improving overall circulation. This means more nutrients can reach your skin when your lymphatic system and circulatory system receive a massage reboot. Plus, it feels terrific.
- Show your skin some love. Exfoliating procedures such as microdermabrasion and dermal infusion are not only relaxing (and great for stress relief), but they also can improve the appearance of your skin. These skin treatments can cleanse, exfoliate, and massage your skin and are completely customizable based on your overall needs. You can turn back the aging clock by investing in one of these treatments on a regular basis. A little self-care can go a long way.
Take Care of You
There is good stress and bad stress. Now it is easy to see the significant impact bad stress can have on your skin. Life is too short to let stress speed up your skin’s aging process. We want you to feel confident, beautiful, and radiant in the skin you are in.
It may be a natural part of life and aging, but stress and skin damage don’t have to show on your face! At First Impressions Rejuvenation Clinic, we have a variety of treatments and solutions to fit your unique needs. Whether you want to explore skin treatments, neuromodulators such as Botox®, dermal fillers, massage therapy, or more, our practitioners are ready and willing to help you live your best and most stress-free life. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about our products and services and find the perfect treatment meant for you.