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How Stress Affects Your Skin - And How To Combat It

27th April 2018  : 

How Stress Affects Your Skin - And How To Combat It

You’ve heard it before; stress can have a physical impact on everything from your digestive system to your heart - and even the health and appearance of your skin. But why is this, and what can we do about it?

Cortisol: your skin’s worst enemy

When we’re stressed, our bodies have a physical reaction, releasing the stress hormone cortisol which leads to an increase in sugars in the blood intended to prepare the body for a fight-or-flight response. Stress also causes an increase in free-radicals which can damage healthy skin cells. Over time, excessive levels of cortisol and free radicals can lead to inflammation in the skin, causing breakouts, redness and, over time, premature ageing.

There are some everyday stresses we can’t do a lot about. But, we can make some changes to help manage their impact on the skin. Here, we share some simple but effective tips for combatting the effects of stress on your skin…

Practise mindfulness
If you’re prone to picking or scratching at your skin when stressed, mindfulness can be a useful way of breaking that destructive cycle. A meditation technique based on focussing all of your thoughts on the present moment, mindfulness has proven to be a hugely effective stress management tool for many. It can be as simple as focussing on your breathing for a few minutes every day; or something more creative such as colouring - or even yoga. But before you dismiss it as new-age nonsense, give it a try. Millions have found it to be invaluable for stress management.

Begin a daily skincare regime

Find a range of skincare products that suits your skin type and stick to a rigid skincare regime every day. Having a set routine can relieve stress and anxiety as it helps bring a sense of order to a day full of chaos, and it provides a perfect opportunity to practise your mindfulness techniques as you wind down for the night. Give yourself a relaxing facial massage as you apply your moisturiser to boost circulation and soothe tension. Choose dermatologist-approved products with gentle, nurturing ingredients for stressed-out, sensitive skin.

Invest in your skin

Your skin is your largest organ and provides a visible insight into your overall health and wellbeing. Give it the attention it deserves by investing in some professional advice from a skin practitioner or dermatologist. They will be able to recommend rejuvenation treatments designed to target any visible signs of stress in the skin, such as redness, acne, frown lines, wrinkles and tired eyes - boosting your self-esteem and providing you with some much-deserved ‘me’ time in the process. 

Don’t neglect your diet

It’s no secret your body needs vitamin-rich foods and plenty of water in order to maintain healthy, clear skin. But when we’re stressed and short on time, our diet is often the first thing to suffer. Try not to reach for sugary, unhealthy snacks as these can cause a sugar high followed by a crash, which will do nothing to elevate your mood. Instead, try to maintain a steady blood sugar level by opting for slow energy-release snacks containing skin-loving antioxidants and natural oils, such as raw nuts or seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables. It might sound boring - but your skin will thank you.


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