Stress – no one likes it, but everyone occasionally suffers from it. And if you’re not careful, that stress can become chronic and wreak havoc on your health. Your immune system can become a victim of stress, and so can your skin. Stress can be the culprit behind dry skin, wrinkles, acne, and more.
Keep reading to find out how stress can leave behind a mark on your skin and what you can do to prevent it.
How Does Stress Affect Your Skin?
If you feel like you’re in a constant battle with your skin, stressing about it will just make it worse. That’s because increased stress hormone, called cortisol, in the body can cause your skin to stress too, leading to hives, fine lines, and more.
Most of the time, a solid skincare routine with the right skincare products and a clean diet can help keep your skin under control. But mental, physical, and hormonal stress can throw all your hard skincare work out the window.
Here are eight ways your skin could be telling you it’s stressed out and what you can do about it.
- Sun stress
While a lot of skin stress is caused internally, one of the main triggers happens on the outside. We are talking about too much sun exposure. Whether it’s natural sunlight or artificial light from tanning beds, too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation can lead to darkened blemishes, moles, wrinkles, and even skin cancer.
You probably already know that the best way to combat UV rays is by applying sunscreen every morning. You can even fight sun damage from within by adding certain nutrients to your diet that have been shown to boost your skin’s natural sun protection. Citrus fruits, strawberries, and pomegranates are packed full of nutrients that could help protect your cells from sun damage. However, eating right doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen! Be sure to lather up every morning.
Hives, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea are all results of inflammation in the body. Sometimes this can be brought on by a poor diet, but oftentimes it’s an outcome of stress. That’s because stress makes it hard for your skin to stay in a regulated state. Have you noticed red patches or more acne after a sleepless week or an intense argument? That’s the stress coming out of your body in the form of inflammation.
Before treating these conditions, you may want to get them checked out by your dermatologist first to make sure you’re getting the right cosmetic skincare. While the flare-ups could be related to stress, you’ll also want to rule out allergies or a bad reaction from a product you’re using. So, be sure to get the flare-ups checked out to make sure you know where they are coming from and get the right inflammation and psoriasis treatment.
- Increased oil production
Stress can mix up our skin’s nerve signals and cause imbalanced hormones and chemicals that can increase oil production on your skin. Of course, more oil will also cause acne. Topical treatments that include salicylic acid can treat your acne. But keep in mind that too much salicylic acid or if it’s too strong can dry out or irritate your skin. So, before you start treating yourself for the extra oil that’s been brought on by stress, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the right dosage of your salicylic acid, so you don’t cause even more skin problems.
- Waxy scalp, hair loss, and peeling nails
A scaly or waxy scalp, hair loss, or peeling nails can also be signs of stressed-out skin. In most cases, these problems are bought on by the stress hormone, cortisol. But you’ll want to check with your dermatologist to determine the exact cause. That’s because some of these issues, as the waxy scalp, could actually be eczema. Or hair loss could be from insufficient nutrition. Your dermatologist can help determine the cause of your issues and recommend the best eczema treatment or skincare products for any issues you have.
In the meantime, you’ll want to skip extremely hot showers, this will also help you to prevent any more damage to your skin and scalp. Make sure you’re also exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Thinner skin
Have you noticed you’re bruising more easily? Stress could be to blame for that too. If your cortisol levels are abnormal, then this can cause your skin to be thin, which can cause easy bruising and tearing.
If you see this as a problem, then you’ll definitely want to see a doctor. Sometimes thinning skin could be associated with Cushing syndrome or hypercortisolism. This is a hormonal disease that can lead to other big problems like glucose intolerance, muscle weakness, and a weakened immune system. If you think you may have Cushing syndrome, you’ll want to get medication to help manage your cortisol levels.
- Delayed natural wound healing
Severe stress can cause your epidermis to become weakened, which can increase your risk for infections and slow down the natural ability of your skin to heal wounds, scars, and acne.
There are several things you can do to help repair your skin barrier. For starters, when looking for products, be sure to look for a serum with glycerin and hyaluronic acid in it. You’ll also want to use sunscreen and eat plenty of antioxidant-rich food. Make sure you stay hydrated with plenty of water and look for products with zinc and flaxseed oil in them. These ingredients will help keep your skin moisturized while providing the help you need to heal wounds.
- Bags under the eyes
We’ve all been there – we are stressed and can’t sleep, so we are left with dark circles or bags under our eyes. And if you’re not careful, severe sleep deprivation can also increase the signs of aging, like creating fine lines and reduce elasticity in your skin. So getting more shut-eye can keep you looking young.
If you can’t seem to dose off right away, there are many things you can try to get that much-needed sleep. There’s always mediation and yoga, and you can also try using essential oil diffusers, white noise machines, CBD oil, or melatonin pills to help you fall asleep easier.
- Fine lines and wrinkles
Smile lines, eye creases, and an “11” in the mid-brow are just some of the ways your emotions can be permanently shown on your face.
Some ways to help this are massaging high tension areas like our foreheads, brows, and jawline. You can also use a chilled jade roller to reduce puffiness and the appearance of stress damage on the skin.
Kicking Stress to the Curb
Now that you know what some signs of stress look like on your skin, controlling your overall stress could be a big benefit. While determining the exact reason behind your stress may be difficult, there are some ways to make yourself feel better, like with exercise, medication, nutritious foods, or therapy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about ways to help kick your stress to the curb. If you have any questions about how stress is impacting your skin, buy stress, cosmetic skincare, or cosmetic skincare.