Stress itself can be enough to ruin anyone’s day, but have you ever wondered how stress affects your skin? Our skin has a way of revealing just how stressed out our mind is through signs like increased redness, acne flare-ups, and more.
Luckily, you can get stress-out skin under control and check one thing off your list of daily stressors.
The main cause of skin irritants when stress is involved is the stress hormone cortisol. When stressed, the body releases this hormone, which wreaks havoc on the skin. In many people, cortisol increases oil production on the face, while with others cortisol dries out the skin. Either issue has its own set of problems and its own set of solutions.
One of the main signs you’re stressed out is a flare up of acne. However, sometimes a flare up can become a prolonged issue for those diagnosed with anxiety or depression as well as people in high-stress jobs. These mental stressors cause the cortisol to build up oil in the skin, making acne form as a response. Using lotions with ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide will help to fight bacteria and oils built up on the face. Be sure to use an oil-free moisturizer as these stronger chemicals can dry out your face.
On the opposite spectrum, cortisol can also inhibit the skin’s ability to retain water, which in turn causes dry skin. Dry skin can make your face seem dull, and can even be as severe as causing painful dry patches. A solution to this problem is to use products with a lower pH level, typically ones that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. When washing your face use lukewarm water – not hot because the intense heat will take away much-needed oils in the skin. The last step is to apply a face cream while the skin is still somewhat damp since this will help seal in moisture.
Stress can be your worst enemy for those suffering from rosacea or even a milder form of skin reddening. Stress weakens the immune system, making flare ups last even longer. To combat this problem, use a cream with anti-inflammatory ingredients like licorice root or allantoin. A dermatologist may also recommend laser therapy to reduce the intensity of blood vessels that cause redness. Your dermatologist can also prescribe more potent creams for those with rosacea.
But before we go, let’s talk about the root of problem…stress…for just a minute.
Different people get stressed out for different reasons. But one thing is the same for everyone: you have to get the stress under control. Check with your doctor for specific recommendations, but everyone can benefit by doing deep-breathing exercises every day. This helps ease your mind from stressors by sending messages to your brain to calm down. In turn, your brain will send that message out to the body, reducing the physical effects. To learn the proper way to do deep-breathing exercises, check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s method here.
If these issues persist despite treatment or a visit to the dermatologist, you may consider seeking a therapist or psychologist to help get anxiety and stress under control. Taking care of the root problem can help heal your skin. Always remember to take care of your mental health just as much as your skin’s health.
Dermatology Associates offers a full spectrum of leading edge medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology services from offices in Savannah and Vidalia.