Skin disorders like acne, inflammation, and others can be signs of stress. How can you tell whether stress is the cause?
The largest organ in your body is your skin. External problems may be a warning sign that something is wrong internally.
While bottled serums and sheet masks have a certain aesthetic and calming appeal, a good skin care regimen might not be sufficient to quiet your body’s intricate processes.
The elevated cortisol spike might confuse the signals that your nerves decide to transmit, which can result in anything from hives to fine lines.
Although there has long been an association between stress and skin, official investigations exposing the deeper connection only began in the last two decades.
And while your food or skin care regimen may contribute to skin issues, stress should also be taken into account, particularly if a rash develops suddenly or lingers long after you’ve eliminated all other possibilities.
We’ve listed eight scientifically validated ways that hormonal, physical, and emotional stress affect your skin. More importantly, we also provide you with actionable advice.
1. Sun damage and worn-out skin defenses
Even before you examine inwardly, ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one external element that can physically tax your skin and erode its defenses. It can have a deleterious impact on the skin and is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) part of sun exposure.
UV rays cause blood cells to rush to the exposed area in an effort to repair it, whether they come from natural sources like sunshine or artificial ones like tanning beds. Sunburns are the result.
Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation can result in moles, skin cancer, and discolored blemishes. Applying sunscreen every morning is the most effective defense against UV radiation and sun stress.
In addition to using sunscreen, you may protect yourself against UV damage internally. According to research from Trusted Source, some nutrients can increase your skin’s built-in solar protection.
A molecule obtained from citrus peels called limonene has been investigated for use in cancer-prevention drugs. Consuming orange peel may also offer sun protection, according to a trusted source.
Fruits rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, such as strawberries and pomegranates, can shield your cells from the free radical damage brought on by exposure to the sun.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that consuming these foods does not substitute for using sunscreen. In addition to using sunscreen, you should think about consuming meals rich in limonene, vitamin C, and other antioxidants.
2. Skin that is extremely sensitive and inflamed
Inflammation is frequently the cause of hives, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea, but studies have also shown that an overactive brain can weaken the protective properties of your skin.
In other words, stress makes it more difficult for your skin to maintain balance and regulation. It makes sense that you would get an extra breakout after a particularly tense conversation or during a week of insomnia.
Acne can also be caused by inflammation. But keep in mind that several skin diseases, like rosacea, might resemble acne as well. Before treating the diseases, it’s crucial to understand the differences, such as whether your irritation is brought on by stress, allergies, or a dangerous substance.
Eliminating the cause is the first step in treating stress-induced inflammation. Although determining the precise cause of your stress may be challenging or impossible, there are still techniques to put out the fires with diet, exercise, or treatment.
Engage in long-term stress management techniques like yoga or meditation.
Steer clear of artificial or processed foods and sugars.
Choose olive oil over margarine, fruit over artificial sweeteners, and fish over red meat.
To strengthen your body’s defenses, consume a homemade stress tonic.
3. Extra clogging of the pores and acne
We’ve all probably suffered at the hands of a persistent pimple, whether it was the oncoming terror of finals week or an unexpected heartbreak (or two).
Acne is strongly correlated with stress, particularly in women. It may muddle the nerve signals going to and from our skin, resulting in unbalanced hormones and other chemicals that boost the creation of oil.
While it’s very hard to completely eliminate stress from the picture, there are strategies to do so. Keep quick stress-relieving approaches on hand for 5- and 10-minute sessions, and attempt longer stress-management methods like exercise to improve your body’s adaptability.
The majority of acne also responds to topical medications. Salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid, is frequently the key component in our favorite acne solutions.
This oil-soluble chemical has excellent pore penetration for cleaning and unclogging, but this does not mean that it is without drawbacks of its own. Salicylic acid applied in excess or at a high concentration can dry out and even irritate the skin.
Therefore, with careful application, nightly spot treatments are useful for focusing on problem areas without damaging the skin nearby.
4. Hair loss, peeling nails, and a waxy scalp
Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Have you ever unintentionally picked at your fingernails, tugged at your hair, or both? The stress hormone cortisol in that situation may have triggered your body’s fight-or-flight reaction.
However, you might want to consult a dermatologist and a doctor to rule out other possible disorders before you conclude it’s stress. For instance, skin that is scaly or waxy may have eczema. Or eating too little and skipping meals could be the cause of your hair falling out or your nails peeling.
Avoid taking very hot showers for the time being to prevent further harm to your skin and scalp. Aim to exercise frequently and consume a nutrient-dense diet of fruits and vegetables to bring more stability to your day.
5. Skin that is more delicate and thin
In situations where cortisol levels are abnormally high, the skin may become thinner. The breakdown of dermal proteins brought on by cortisol can make the skin appear practically paper-thin and more prone to bruising and tearing.
However, Cushing syndrome is most conspicuously linked to this symptom. This hormonal condition, also known as hypercortisolism, manifests as glucose intolerance, muscle weakness, and a compromised immune system (you may experience increased infections).
Make an appointment with a healthcare provider if you believe you may have Cushing syndrome. Most of the time, cortisol levels can be controlled with medicine.
6. Slow spontaneous healing of wounds
Your epidermis can quickly disintegrate in the face of extreme stress, raising your susceptibility to infections and environmental pathogens. Additionally, this hinders your skin’s natural capacity to recover from injuries, scars, and acne.
You can use glycerin and hyaluronic acid-containing products to restore the skin barrier.
The same treatments you use to prevent sun exposure also work here. Consume foods high in antioxidants for a comparable result and accelerated internal repair.
Focus on utilizing products based on zinc, sal (Shorea robusta), and flaxseed oil in addition to keeping skin hydrated internally (via water consumption). According to a reputable source, these substances keep your skin hydrated and deliver a potent healing punch for wound healing.
7. Tired eyes and skin around the eyes
You’ll understand how severely sleep loss manifests physically if you’ve ever had someone comment on the undeniable black circles under your eyes. Yes, that is stress as well.
Even in the wee hours of the morning, when we are in a fight-or-flight state, our bodies keep the adrenaline pumping continuously.
If you currently practice yoga and meditation to fall asleep, intensify your bedtime routine by employing white noise generators, using essential oil diffusers, and avoiding screens two hours before bed.
CBD oil and melatonin supplements may be more effective treatments for sleep disorders like sleeplessness and sleep apnea.
8. Small creases and lines
Psychological tension eventually finds a way to render our emotions permanently visible, from a scowl to a furrowed forehead.
What might one do as a result? Try face yoga if you want. Face yoga can produce benefits comparable to those of Botox, although it may be challenging to commit to performing it daily.
These exercises can stop wrinkles from forming and leave skin supple and resilient by targeting the facial muscles we unconsciously utilize every day with focused massage techniques in high-tension areas like our foreheads, brows, and jawline.
Applying pressure to the face with a cooled jade roller helps to alleviate further puffiness and the appearance of stress damage to the skin by stimulating the lymphatic system.
Stop the cycle of stress.
Although stress manifests differently in each person, it affects everyone to some degree in the end. Choose to take care of yourself when you need it rather than comparing your level of stress to others’ stress levels to determine whether your stress is “all that awful.”
While there are many ways that stress can manifest itself, we have some choice over how we choose to respond to it. One of the tiny things we can do to slowly but surely lessen stress is to remember to take care of ourselves and our skin.