Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed out, your body and your skin tend to manifest symptoms to reflect that? When your to-do list is endlessly piling up, it’s the prime time for pimples to pop up…leading to even more stress. It’s a vicious cycle…and there is science behind why this happens.
Much like how stress has an impact on your brain, it also affects the clarity and health of your skin. Below are 6 ways stress affects your skin and what you can do about it:
- Serious Scars
Some people develop unconscious nervous behaviors when they are stressed and one of the more common is picking at your skin. This behaviour can lead to serious scarring and inflammation of the skin due to the introduction of bacteria to an open lesion. To keep your hands busy and avoid picking at your skin, I recommend trying other things like applying ice to in inflamed pimple, painting your nails, meditating or learning to knit.
- Aggravation of Inflammation
Stress has the ability to aggravate inflammation within the body leading to flare ups or worsening of pre-existing skin conditions such as acne, eczema or psoriasis. During stressful times, cortisol levels rise leading to increased sebum/oil production and the development of clogged pores and acne. Adrenal gland support from herbs that are also anti-inflammatory can be very useful during times of stress. To determine which are the best for your needs I recommend discussing this with your Naturopathic Doctor.
- Skin Stress Cycle
Are you one of those people who wants to hide out when your skin’s breaking out? Not only does stress lead to an aggravation of acne and other skin conditions, but patients who have skin conditions have been shown to have higher instances of anxiety and social avoidance. I regularly recommend that acne and skin health patients incorporate meditation practice into their daily routine or find activities that help to alleviate their stress and promote a sense of calm.
- Accelerating Aging
Bouts of stress accelerate the aging process. Telomeres—which are caps at the end of each strand of DNA, kind of like the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces—that protect our chromosomes and affect how fast our cells age are shorten with stress. The shorter the telomere the more rapidly your cells become damaged, age and eventually deteriorate. This means that stress leads to more lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
- Halting Healing
Stress slows the healing process of the skin. Stress delays the skin’s healing process by impairing the barrier function, or protective outer layer. In fact, in a small study analyzing the skin of medical students during exams and then after vacation, researchers found that “wound healing was significantly delayed” during finals. In addition, stress impacts your immune system making you more vulnerable to infections.
- Dryness & Dehydration
A recent study found that high levels of anxiety deplete your skin’s natural moisture reserves. It can suppress hyaluronic acid production, which causes dryness and dullness. If you already have sensitive skin, this increased water loss over time can also make your skin more prone to having a red, chapped appearance.
Naturopathic Medicine has a number of tools to help heal the skin in a holistic multi-faceted manner and is particularly effective in providing strategies and techniques for managing stress. To book a free 15 minute consultation to learn more about how I can help you achieve glowing, healthy skin give my awesome reception team a call at the Integrative Health Institute at 416-260-6038 or leave a message here.
Have a beautiful day!