We’ve all had those days when we experience skin breakouts, causing us to feel ashamed, and often resorting to thick concealers and other solutions that can clog our pores and make our skin challenges even worse. So, first of all, know that you’re not alone. This can happen to anyone — of any age or walk of life. Why? Well, stress can wreak havoc on your skin!
When we think about stress, it’s usually regarding the mental and spiritual toll that it can have on our lives. However, it’s important to keep in mind that stress can also create outbreaks, or worsen a number of skincare challenges, including:
But, how does stress manifest in such a way that it affects your skin, the body’s largest organ? Let’s have a closer look at five of the most common ways.
1. Connection of the Mind and Skin
As mentioned, the first thing that pops into the mind when you’re having a breakout, probably isn’t why you’ve been anxious or stressed out lately. Can your skin challenges actually seem more psychologically, rather than medically, based? Is there really a connection of the mind and skin?
Well, the blanket answer is that not everyone experiences stress in the same ways, and not all skin challenges are caused by the same factors. However, the skin and the mind have the type of relationship that most people can’t possibly imagine.
Since the skin wraps around the body’s organs, the nerve endings that connect to the skin can play a big part in emotions manifesting through the skin. Just as stress can cause other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or stomach-related problems, it can also be the root of temporary, unexpected breakouts, or even longer bouts of unhealthy skin.
2. Spikes in Adrenaline
To learn a little more about what happens in your body when you’re feeling especially stressed, think about the fight-or-flight response. Our minds begin to prepare a way to combat the feelings or, if that doesn’t work, a way to escape them. When this happens, you experience spikes in adrenaline, and with this rise, you begin to sweat more.
Surely, we’ve all experienced that heavy perspiration when we think we’ve lost our keys in the grocery store, or we remember an important task that is now embarrassingly late. This is the body’s way of cooling itself down, quite like the steam that flows from an overheated car engine.
Yet, when this happens, we can become dehydrated, often never even realizing it. In this way, the skin can become dry, creating a trigger for a number of skin conditions. This can be especially prevalent in more mature skin.
3. Increased Inflammation
We touched briefly on how stress can affect the stomach — the gut, in particular. Did you know that being stressed can actually slow down your digestion? It can, creating a chain of events to follow, ending in increased inflammation.
One of the first things to occur is the growth of unhealthy bacteria. In essence, this basically disrupts the often-precarious balance of the gut, as stress makes digestion more and more of a challenge. This also explains why your stomach can hurt when you’re particularly anxious or worried. (No, it’s not all “in your mind!”)
As digestion is slowed, the gut can begin to leak, causing inflammation. And, as the inflammation increases, it can trigger noticeable skin conditions.
4. Hormonal Changes
When you experience stress, the body begins to prepare to combat those situations. It sends a signal to the brain to begin producing more cortisol, which in turn provides energy (in the form of glucose) for that fight-or-flight reaction that we’ve already discussed, resulting in temporary hormonal changes.
More energy sounds great, right? However, one drawback is that these hormones can cause the glands to produce more oil, which can block the pores. And, we all know what follows when we have pore blockages!
Plus, no one really wants the appearance of oily skin. That’s just one more reason not to allow stress to wreak havoc on your skin!
5. Stress-Reducing Habits
It seems that every person who experiences some level of stress may pick up little stress-reducing habits that will help them to calm down. Some of these are harmless, but others can inflict harm upon the body — most specifically the skin.
Have you ever been frustrated, and rubbed your face vigorously to try to regain your composure? Have you ever seen anyone scratching their head, trying to contemplate an answer to a problem?
These are both ways that we may try to calm our minds, but they can affect our skin in a similar way that lifestyle choices make an impact. Remember, when you touch your face, the oil and dirt on your hands will transfer, clogging the pores or causing irritations. Even scratching your head can damage the skin, sometimes ending in abrasions. It’s a skincare must to avoid touching your skin!
So, the bottom line is that we need to learn that “being mad” at your skin is no way to achieve positive results. Since we know that stress can cause problematic skin issues, this can create a circle of challenges. Stress affects the skin, which, in turn, can make you even more stressed. There has to be a better way, right?
Well, it’s definitely time for a revolution from within! Now that you know more about how stress can wreak havoc on your skin, you can begin to work at the root of the problem. Find the best way — for your particular needs — to manage your stress levels. Then, simply wait for your skin to adjust and begin to heal — from the inside out. It really can be that beautiful!