n recognition of Stress Awareness Month, the theme for this month is—yep, you guessed it—stress. Particularly, how it affects your skin.
Stress isn’t just a mental issue. It can have many adverse effects on your body, including your skin. Being stressed makes your body produce cortisol and other hormones, which cause your skin to be more sensitive and leads to your sebaceous glands producing more oil. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin problems.
Also, when cortisol is released by the body, sugar levels in the blood increase, stimulating a process called glycation in your skin. Glycation damages your skin’s collagen and elastin, reducing the firmness and elasticity of your skin, which can cause lines and wrinkles. Glycation—bad.
In addition to causing glycation, cortisol also reduces your skin’s production of hyaluronic acid, which serves as a natural moisturizer for your skin. Still more, cortisol deteriorates the skin’s lipid barrier, which allows even more moisture to escape. And when skin is dehydrated, the natural enzymes in our skin that work to repair damage are weakened.
Stress can also worsen chronic skin conditions. It can intensify psoriasis, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema. Stress can also trigger hives, rashes, and a flare-up of fever blisters.
Being stressed will likely also interfere with your skin care. If you are stressed, you might slack off on your daily skin care routine, which could aggravate your skin problems. Skimping on your skin care will also mean you probably won’t look your best, which can lead to even more stress.
Since stress simply comes with life, what matters is how you deal with it. If you have a persistent and reoccurring skin problem, reevaluate how you handle stress, and take steps to improve.
While stress can be controlled by eliminating stress-inducing factors from our lives, the symptoms of stress on the skin can be controlled in a similar way—clearing the debris. When stress has already launched an attack on our skin, the first step in a strong defense against stubborn acne is to clear the pores of dirt, oil, and bacteria. Then, exfoliating is essential for preventing breakouts and eliminating excess oil and shine. For this, try Reversion Clarifying Cleanser, a salicylic acid face wash, and Purifying Toner, a salicylic acid exfoliant.
Department of Health and Human Services: “Stress and Your Health”
American Academy of Dermatology: “Stress and Skin”
Acne Resource Center: “Does Stress Cause Acne?”