Stressing Out = Stressed Out Skin

Although stress starts as an emotional and mental response, it has many side-effects on our physical health and wellbeing.  Just as diet, sleep and exercise are part of our holistic health, stress management is the cause of many physical problems, including skin problems.  When we experience stress, anxiety or worry, our bodies react and often our skin suffers the most.  In essence, “stressing out” results in “stressed out” skin.

When the body feels stress, it releases inflammatory stress hormones and chemicals.  Among these is cortisol, which causes sebaceous glands to excrete excess oil.  When more oil than necessary is produced, pores can become clogged and acne or other skin problems may arise.  Cortisol can have the opposite effect as well; it can dry out the skin by disrupting skin’s ability to hold in moisture, resulting in dull and flakey skin. Plus, cortisol spikes blood sugar that triggers a process breaking down collagen and elastin required for firm, wrinkleless skin.  Additionally, during times of stress, nerve endings release neuropeptides that cause overactive blood vessels that lead to skin redness and irritation known as rosacea.  When these hormones and chemicals go into over-drive occasionally, not much harm is done.  But prolonged, chronic stress can have a negative impact on the body and damage skin. 

While stress can instigate skin problems, it more often makes existing problems worse or persistent problems return.  This includes rosacea, psoriasis, fever blisters, dermatitis and acne.  In the case of acne, pimples can be worse and more inflamed when the body is experiencing stress or anxiety.  To make matters worse, these initial affects of stress on skin can cause more damage to skin by impairing cell function.  Skin cells contain a natural immune system that creates a barrier to keep microbes and toxins from entering the body.  When skin cells are weak, this defense mechanism may allow infections and allergens to penetrate the skin causing more severe skin conditions and other potential health risks.

Another side effect of stress is lethargy, disinterest and a change in behavior.  Many people tend to disregard some of their health and skin care routines due to lack of motivation and energy.  This quickly takes a toll on skin.  Moreover, some people develop stress-induced habits, such as scratching, rubbing or picking at skin, that exacerbates skin problems. 

Many people don’t think about it but stress management is part of taking good care of your skin.  According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, treating skin involves improving the physical property of skin itself and helping patients effectively manage stress to reduce and prevent skin problems.  And it has a ripple effect too.  When people feel more attractive with more beautiful skin, their skin performs better and many other aspects of their lives improve too. 

Stress management is essential to great skin.  There are a variety of techniques to keep stress under control.  Among the most effective are exercise, deep breathing, yoga, meditation and relaxation.  Sleep is important too, allowing the body and brain rest from the stressors of the day, and also giving skin time for restoration and rejuvenation.  Even during times of stress, it’s important to maintain a healthy skin care routine.  Perhaps more than ever, skin needs good nutrition for strength, reparation and resilience.  That includes at least twice-daily cleansing, periodic exfoliating, hydration and moisturization.  Among the vital ingredients your stress-protection skin care products should include are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, retinol and essential oils. 

Natura Veda’s all-natural skin care system delivers these nutrients to stressed out skin.  Along with a stress management plan, Natura Veda can restore your tired, worried skin to a more vibrant, healthy state. 

Erin Stieglitz
Erin Stieglitz