Learn How Stress Affects Your Skin
How Stress Affects Your Skin: Expert Tips & Trips for Zen Skin
Ever experienced a breakout before a big event? Or struggled to cover dark circles after a night of overthinking? We’ve all been there.
The truth is stress is unavoidable, but finding balance is key to giving your complexion the glow-up you crave. Why? Because stress and skin are intimately connected.
Today, we’ll explore how stress manifests in your complexion, and share the best tips for combatting stressed skin.
Cue the meditation playlist and keep reading.
Medically, what is stress?
The National Institutes of Health defines stress as the body’s response to mental, physical, or emotional pressure, threats, or challenges.
When you encounter a stressful situation, your brain signals your adrenal glands to release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare your body for its "fight or flight" response (a survival mechanism that helps you either confront a situation or run away from it).
Ideally, you’d respond to the stressful scenario and your body would return to normal. But let’s face — stress tends to overstay its welcome more times than not.
Stress isn’t inherently bad. In fact, some degree of stress benefits your motivation and goals. However, prolonged stress increases your cortisol levels and manifests in physiological ways, like stress-induced skin problems.
How stress affects skin health
The intricate relationship between your skin and stress is best understood by learning about the brain-skin connection. This refers to a bidirectional communication system between your mind and skin.
Your skin has its own complex nervous system, known as the cutaneous nervous system, which communicates with the brain via various channels, such as hormones, neuropeptides, and cytokines.
In other words, your brain and skin constantly interact with one other.
So, what kind of issues does chronic stress trigger in your complexion?
Alters skin barrier function
Slows down healing
- Causes or exasperates acne, psoriasis, discoloration, or eczema
- Promotes unhealthy lifestyle habits like poor sleep, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, or substance abuse that also have adverse effects on your skin
These stress-induced skin problems can take a toll on your confidence, leading to even more stress and locking you in a vicious cycle.
But tackling a stressed-out complexion goes beyond finding the best skincare routine for stressed skin. To get to the root of the issue, you must confront your stress head-on.
5 tips for managing stressed skin and glowing from within
Now that you understand the link between skin and stress, it's clear that putting stress management at the top of your to-do list could be the key to unlocking the complexion of your dreams.
Slay the stress beast, cure your skin woes? Sounds easier said than done.
Putting stress to bed is harder than finding your perfect shade of foundation. But with the right tools and mindset, you can turn down the volume on stress and reveal a worry-free complexion that's as flawless as your makeup game.
Ready to go from stressed to blessed? Here are some tips for relaxing your way to better skin:
1. Declutter your mind
Practicing any kind of mental shift can be an unexpectedly daunting task. But if you want to address your stress and skin concerns, decluttering your mind and taking charge of your thoughts is a must.
Make it a habit of incorporating one or more of these mind-clearing practices into your lifestyle:
Start a journal
Read a personal-growth book
- Pursue a new hobby
- Join a support group
- Consider therapy
In the words of author Dan Millman, you don’t have to control your thoughts — you just have to stop letting them control you.
2. Revamp your skincare routine
Some degree of stress is inevitable, but you (and your complexion) have your limits. And while stress management techniques are essential, the right skincare will back them up.
That said, if the idea of spending an eternity in the bathroom washing, exfoliating, and layering multiple serums and toners makes you want to run for the hills, you’re not alone.
The best skincare routine for stressed skin is the one you actually look forward to doing. Luckily, there are simpler and more enjoyable ways to care for your complexion than spending an eternity in the bathroom every day.
Another way to amp up your routine? Stick to medically-backed products formulated with anti-aging ingredients that’ll leave your stress and skin problems in the dust.
3. Prioritize your beauty sleep
Sleep has an immense impact on your stress levels and signs of aging. What gives? Inadequate sleep tricks your body into thinking it’s in distress, spiking cortisol production.
Unfortunately, sleep can be challenging, especially when you have a laundry list of things to tackle before the day ends. This is where some mental gymnastics come into play.
It's important to reframe the way you think about sleep and remember that it's not just a luxury but a necessity. Here are some ways to make adequate rest a non-negotiable part of our daily routine:
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Start a bedtime routine
- Create a good sleep environment
- Avoid caffeine and screen time before bed
- Incorporate sleep-induction techniques
Before you know it, you’ll be snoozing your stress and skin worries away.
4. Break a sweat
Similar to how we overlook the benefits of a good night's sleep, we often underestimate the transformative impact of physical activity.
Regular exercise isn’t just one of the best natural remedies for stress-related skin issues; it also improves blood circulation, boosts collagen production, and helps reduce inflammation — resulting in healthy, glowing skin.
New to the fitness game? Ease your way in with these low-effort activities:
- Hit the yoga mat
- Go for a nature walk
- Join a boutique gym
- Try at-home workout videos
- Go on a bike ride
Consider this your excuse to bust out the cute activewear, crank up the volume on your favorite playlist, and get your body moving. Your skin and stress-free mind will thank you.
5. Simplify your life
Too often, we complicate our lives by taking on more than we can handle or clinging onto things that no longer serve us. By simplifying and cutting out the things that are causing the stress, you can significantly improve your mental and physical health.
Anxious over finances? Start a budget.
Job got you burnt out? Look for a more fulfilling one that prioritizes work-life balance.
Messy house overwhelming you? Hire on a housekeeper.
By simplifying your life, you’ll create space and time for the things that bring you joy and fulfillment rather than feeling weighed down by stress or anxiety.
Worry Less, Glow More with MD GLAM.
“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind, too.” ~Anonymous
Fact is, there’s a slim chance we’ll ever fully conquer the stress monster, but we can find ways to tame it. Understanding its effects and implementing stress-management practices will foster the skin radiance that comes from feeling balanced and grounded.
Say goodbye to stressed skin and hello to a glowy, carefree complexion with scientifically-proven skincare from MD GLAM.