How Stress Affects Your Skin
Updated: Jul 10
During these uncertain times, taking care of your skin may seem like an unessential aspect of daily life. But when constant hand-washing/sanitation is wreaking havoc on your skin, it could make it more vulnerable to infection.
Stress is another constant in many people's lives right now and it is doing just as much damage. In fact, did you know that stress can have such a great effect on the skin that it can actually hinder its immune power?
Skin: Our First Line Of Defense
Just like a shell, the skin acts as our "tough" layer of protection against potential invaders. It is always trying to maintain "homeostasis", in other words: balance. It can regulate internal temperature, eliminate toxins and other harmful substances from the body and block environmental aggressors from penetrating its walls. But when stress comes into the picture, it can be so powerful that it can actually interfere with the skin's ability to defend itself and protect the body
Stress: The Destroyer
Just like kryptonite deprives Superman of his powers, chronic stress can weaken our immune power, making our skin and body susceptible to infection. It does this by triggering the production of stress-induced hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which are usually helpful during a real life threat ("fight-or-flight" response), but when stress lingers around for too long it can start to create a negative impact on the skin and the entire body, leading to things like anxiety, depression, digestive problems, poor concentration/memory and trouble sleeping to name a few.
Topically, we can see the effects of stress in the form of inflammation which can come in many forms: from hives and rashes to acne, eczema and other types of dermatitis. What's worse is if you are already prone to these conditions, it is likely that they will get much worse.
Allow Time For Self Care
Physical activities like dancing, jogging and yoga can be effective at reducing stress levels. Even simple things like being outdoors, having a warm bath or listening to music can be helpful. Why not try out a new hobby? Pick something you've been wanting to learn about, like painting or dancing.
Heck, you could even explore some river surfing like my friend Angela, who could whip any river into shape with her badass boss attitude. Learn how she keeps a cool, calm and collected composure, using her Wim Hof method in this stellar video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmgIyVnod20
If that sounds too adventurous, maybe meditation is more your thing. If you've longed to be in that blissful serenity but have trouble maintaining focus or don't know where to start, check out the awesome 'Dive Deep' program put on by the rockstars at Blissed: https://www.welcometoblissed.com/dive-deep
Photo by Sherri Castiglione @canmoregirls
Repairing Your Skin
The skin renews itself every 28 days, therefore it could take up to a month to see any change or improvement when trying to treat the skin topically. But here are some ways to help speed the process:
Cool it. Use cool or lukewarm water when washing your hands and face to help reduce redness and swelling.
Keep Calm. Ingredients like calendula, chamomile, turmeric and lavender help soothe, calm and reduce inflammation. Itchy Skin? Try adding colloidal oatmeal or peppermint.
Hydrate. Keeping the skin sufficiently hydrated will help with the repairing process and help reduce irritation caused by dryness. Look for humectants like hyaluronic acid and snow fungus (mushroom) in your skin care as they are very effective at pulling moisture into the skin.
Feed Your Skin. Microgreens are a great addition to your skincare routine to help fight damage and protect healthy cells.
Re-pair, Do Care! Honey and Shea butter and Emu oil are great moisturizers that help heal and deeply nourish the skin and are naturally anti-inflammatory, which makes them ideal choices for stressed skin.
Prevent & Protect. Whenever possible, make sure to shield your skin from the harmful effects of the sun and other environmental aggressors by applying sun protection every day. Adding antioxidants, like raspberry seed oil, into the mix will help boost your skin's defense and prevent free radical damage (goodbye wrinkles!).
Healing From The Inside
Skin gets its food both externally and internally. Here are the main nutrients that will help keep the skin looking radiant and the body healthy:
Vitamin C- Stimulates collagen synthesis, which gives the skin its youthful look.
Omegas- helps keep the skin and other tissues hydrated, may also help prevent inflammation and sun damage.
Antioxidants- Essential for repairing cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Collagen - Improves skin elasticity and promotes wound healing.
EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids)- Prevent the development of inflammatory skin conditions and trans-epidermal water loss, otherwise known as TEWL (water being literally evaporated out of the skin, resulting in moisture loss).
H20-Water is essential for all bodily processes and will help keep the tissues hydrated :)