You’re not alone. 84% of Americans report feeling “stressed out” at least one day a week. And almost half of us — 44%, to be exact — feel that the pandemic has been the most stressful time in our entire lives.
You probably already know the toll that stress can take on your mental and emotional health. But have you ever stopped to consider how stress can affect your skin?
Keep reading below as we discuss how stress affects skin and, most importantly, what you can do to keep your skin looking vibrant and healthy.
How Stress Affects Skin
As the largest organ in your body, your skin can be greatly affected by stress.
For starters, high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) can lead to an overproduction of sebum, or oil, inside your skin glands. The result? Acne, blackheads, and breakouts — even if you’re well past your teenage years.
Stress also wreaks havoc on your immune system, which causes your skin to be more sensitive and reactive. If you have any inflammatory conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or rosacea, stress can cause a flare-up. You might also notice bags under your eyes, increased dryness, redness, or rashes.
Finally, stress can make you feel anxious and nervous, which can lead to compulsive behaviors like scratching or skin picking. This not only damages your skin but can also affect your self-esteem, which leads to even more stress!
How to Combat the Effects of Stress
It’s obvious that stress can have a profoundly negative effect on your skin. The question is: What can you do about it?
Here are seven helpful tips to keep your skin healthy — no matter how much stress you’re dealing with.
- Maintain your skincare routine daily, even on days when you feel especially tired or anxious. Never go to be without removing your makeup and cleansing your face.
- Eat a balanced diet that focuses on whole foods with fresh vegetables and fruits. Limit or avoid processed foods and foods with added sugars, as these create inflammation and make skin problems worse.
- Try your best to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep gives your body (including your skin) time to rejuvenate, heal, and prepare for the next day.
- Stay active. Regular exercise boosts your feel-good hormones that improve your mood and energy levels. Even a long daily walk will have a positive effect on your body — inside and out.
- Make time for activities that relax you. This might include meditation, journaling, playing with your pets, or working on a creative project. Schedule regular facials or massages (or both) to give your body and mind a break from the outside world.
- Limit or avoid the use of alcohol and recreational drugs. These can exacerbate any skin problems you have and — while you might temporarily feel better —increase your stress levels in the long run.
- Talk to others about what you’re experiencing. Call a trusted friend or family member or consider speaking with a counselor or therapist about your mental health.
Do Something Great for Your Skin Today
Now that you know how stress affects skin, what’s the next step?
You may not be able to eliminate stress in your life, but you can find healthy ways to cope with it. As we discussed above, a good self-care routine for your skin and body will do wonders for your mental health!
The team at Apres at Simply Massage in West Vail is ready to help you look and feel your very best. Browse our menu of luxurious spa treatments or give us a call at 970-445-2114 to learn more!