Stress and Your Skin
Bills piling up. Fights with your significant other. An unexpected illness. Looming deadlines at work. There are countless things in our lives that can cause stress in our lives. As much as we’d like to avoid it, to some extent stress is simply a fact of life. Too much stress, though, can wind up taking a heavy toll. We all know the effects it can have on us – it can leave us exhausted, anxious, and emotionally drained. However, stress can also have an affect on your physical appearance, including your skin.
Even if you haven’t dealt with acne or regular breakouts since you were a teenager, almost everyone is still familiar with the dreaded breakouts that magically reappear during times of high stress. Though the exact reason is unknown, studies have shown that the cells that produce sebum (the oil that clogs pores and causes breakouts) seem to kick into overdrive when we’re stressed. Because stress can also make you fall out of routines, it’s important to be extra mindful of keeping your skin clean and, of course, keeping your hands away from your face.
Immunity-Related Skin Conditions
While your immune system can provide amazing protection that keeps us strong and healthy, it’s not always the greatest multi-tasker. When our bodies are stressed, our immune system will often throw all of its energy into dealing with the stress. This leaves other areas less protected and vulnerable (ever notice how often you get a cold after a stressful time?), giving immunity-related skin conditions such as cold sores, eczema and psoriasis.
Sensitivity to Allergens
An overworked immune system caused by stress also means your body might not be as resilient against allergens. Mild irritants that your body might fight off normally may now result in hives and itchy red rashes. A 2008 study by the American Psychological Association showed that even minor stress could have a huge effect on allergy sufferers’ skin. This can not only mean extra sensitive skin, but can also make you end up sick – the last thing you need when you’re already stressed out.
Beauty Routine Neglect
When we’re faced with stress, many times we find ourselves putting all of our time and energy into dealing with the situation. Unfortunately, this can often mean dropping the ball when it comes to taking care of yourself the way you should. Whether you fall back on unhealthy eating habits (chocolate, anyone?), start losing sleep, or simply fall out of your skincare routine, all of this can wreak havoc on your skin.