This covered common stress-related skin complaints such as: stress spots, hives and stress rash, rosacea, dry skin, eye bags and wrinkles.
But, what can we do about this? This post details the most effective ways to combat the effects of stress on your skin, whatever they may be.
Hives and Stress Rash
Stress weakens your immune system. This can cause your body to become particularly sensitive to irritants and/or to release histamine. These both lead to the appearance of hives and stress rash.
So, what's the best way to relieve hives and stress rash?
Wear loose fitting clothes:
If you’re suffering from a breakout in hives, wear loose fitting clothing and avoid any hot baths or showers until the hives have gone down.
If your clothing is fitted, you risk aggravating your skin further. During this period, you should avoid using any scented moisturisers on your rash for the same reason.
Take an antihistamine:
Antihistamines will act quickly to reduce the itchiness and swelling of hives.
They work by blocking the effect of histamine, the chemical responsible for allergic reactions. You should take an antihistamine as soon as a reaction develops.
Source: Michael Jarmoluk
Stress spots occur when cortisol is released into the body, fuelling oil production and clogging your pores.
So, what's the best way to reduce stress spots?
Exfoliating benefits your skin in many ways. Firstly, it removes dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, resulting in a clearer complexion.
Exfoliation also unclogs your pores, drawing out any oil or congestion and reducing the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.
Furthermore, exfoliating increases blood circulation, helping you achieve glowing and healthy skin. You should aim to exfoliate twice a week max. Any more than this and you risk stripping your skin of natural oils, any less and it won’t be effective.
Some people believe that by moisturising oily skin, you'll make your spots worse. However, this isn't the case. Avoiding moisturiser will dry your skin out, and as a result stimulate excess oil production to compensate for the loss of moisture.
It's important to follow a skincare routine and to moisturise every morning and evening.
Stress greatly increases the risk of rosacea flare ups.
When we’re stressed, our bodies release more neuropeptides and neurotransmitters than usual. This causes inflammation and dilates the blood vessels within our skin.
So, what's the best way to relieve rosacea?
Daily probiotic use:
As well as treating acne-prone skin, rosacea sufferers may benefit from daily probiotic use.
These are seen as 'friendly bacteria' and are often found in yoghurts and food supplements.
Inflammation in the gut can also lead to rosacea flare ups. Consuming healthy bacteria in the form of probiotics will line the gut and create a barrier to prevent this.
As mentioned above, when we experience stress, cortisol is released. This reduces your skin’s ability to hold onto water. This is why our skin looks dry and flaky.
So, what's the best way to relieve dry skin?
The more water you drink, the more hydrated your skin will look and feel. You should aim to drink 8 glasses of water per day.
It goes without saying - if you suffer from dry skin you must moisturise it. Look for moisturisers with Vitamin E products, which will deeply nourish the layers of your skin.
As mentioned above, you should follow a skincare routine and ensure you moisturise each morning and evening. Use a richer cream for night and a lighter cream for daytime.
Source: Rony Michaud
When we’re stressed, we tend to sleep less at night. Lack of sleep inevitably results in eye bags when we awaken.
So what are the best ways to reduce eye bags?
Relax before bed:
It's important to wind down and relax before going to bed. This will allow your mind to unwind and get ready for sleep. We recommend switching off all electronic devices (phones, tablets, laptops) and any bright lighting. You should aim to do this at least one hour before you go to sleep.
The light from these devices will keep you awake, and they are more likely to be stimulating rather than relaxing.
Get enough sleep:
You should aim to get 8 hours sleep per night. The more you sleep, the less chance you have of waking up to dark circles and under-eye bags in the morning.
Sleep with an extra pillow. Due to gravity, any fluid naturally floods to the thin skin under your eyes, so the elevation will reduce fluid pooling to this area.
If a DNA skin cell becomes frayed, it ages the skin and leads to wrinkles. Telomeres stop DNA from fraying, but they shorten with stress. So if you’re stressed, this will increase the appearance of ageing skin.
So, what's the best way to reduce wrinkles?
Use a serum/ anti-ageing cream:
Creams specifically targeted at your problem area will work the best. For example, if you suffer with wrinkles around the eye, use an effective eye serum.
Look for products with Vitamin C and E in them, as these boost collagen production and soothe the skin. You should use your cream as specified on the label.
A recent study found that participants who embarked on a three month meditation retreat increased the levels of telomerase in their bloodstream by 30%. Telomerase is responsible for repairing telomeres, and can therefore help stop cell ageing.
Meditation and yoga help keep your thoughts under control, leading to a better psychological well being and less risk of telomere damage.
Eat a healthy diet:
There is evidence to suggest that a healthy, balanced diet helps to improve the health of your skin, with certain superfoods recognised as anti-ageing foods.
For example, pistachios are a superfood that help protect our DNA and lower blood pressure, whilst omega 3 products, such as oily fish, induce telomere growth.
Full-fat natural yogurt helps to firm the skin and green and yellow vegetables help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, especially around the eye area. You should try to incorporate more of these foods into your diet.
If you feel like stress is taking its toll on your skin, follow the above advice and you should begin to feel the benefits.