Can Stress Affect Your Skin? Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical mental and emotional responses. Stress is a part of life. The Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress which can disturb the body’s equilibrium.
Does Stress Affect The Skin?
Stress can affect the whole body. This includes your hair, skin and nails.
Stress acts as a catalyst for a few harmful chemical reactions in the body which makes the skin more sensitive. It can lead to new problems and also hinder the healing of the older ones. Dr Whitney Bowe, NYC dermatologist and the author of The Beauty of Dark skin care says our body can’t differentiate between physical, emotional, psychological or environmental stress. Stress harms your skin and body, but you can’t take care of it right now because you’re stressed and the cycle continues.
Understandably, stress effects everyone’s skin and body differently. When the body defects stress it slows down digestion. There is a powerful connection between the skin, mind and the gut. The longer the period for which stress lasts, the greater its effect. This slowed digestion acts as a favorable condition for the unhealthy bacteria to grow faster which, in their turn, can cause body-wide inflammation.
Or, due to the fight-or-flight response, triggered by the stress, adrenaline is secreted. This activates the sweat glands which cause a lot of loss of water. The shift in amounts of hormones, particularly cortisol, causes the skin to be oilier. The stress hormone can also cause the dormant conditions to reignite.
Some of the skin problems which are caused by stress are
1) Eye bags: This includes mild swelling, saggy or loose skin and dark circles.
2)Dry skin: When the body isn’t able to replenish the natural oils of the skin, it dries up. It causes itchy skin and red patches. Dehydrated skin lacks water and looks flaky and bumpy.
3)Acne: A skin condition which occurs when hair follicles plug with oil and dead skin cells. The imbalance in hormones irritates sebaceous glands in the skin, leading to higher than normal levels of oil, blockages in the pores and acne breakouts.
4)Rashes: Swollen, pale-red or skin-coloured bumps on the skin which tend to itch, sometimes, tingle and/or burn. Stress rashes often take form of hives. This happens because the body releases neuropeptides and neurotransmitters when a person is under stress.
5) Flushed Face: This is a common symptom of many strong emotions. The face, upper chest and neck rapidly turn reddish-purple. There is more blood flow to an area of skin, the blood vessels enlarge to compensate.
6)Skin ageing: Ageing occurs differently for everybody. However, cortisol, the primary stress hormone, breaks down the collagen in your skin which can lead to a plethora of effects. It includes premature wrinkles, sagging of skin, sunspots and dry or itchy skin and fine lines.
Studies have also shown that stress can cause uneven skin tone. Stress restricts blood supply to your skin which result in less supply of oxygen When the skin is deprived of nourishment, it looks tired and lacks lustre. This also hinders the regeneration of skin cells which can lead to uneven skin tone and pigmentation.
Effect Of Stress On Hair
According to Dr Forum Patel of Union Square Laser Dermatology in NYC, some people might find their hair to be oilier-or-drier than usual. Stress can even lead to hair loss. Basically, when distressed, the body tries to save on resources by not producing hair(or nails) which aren’t important in the time of crisis.
This leads to hair loss and hair thinning. The hair also tends to grow out weaker. Stress decreases the production of melanin. This leads to greying of hair. Along with that, it increases the production of dandruff as sebum gets collected in the hair roots. Dandruff is a reason for hairfall, itching of the scalp and scalp acne.
Effects Of Stress On Nails
In a similar fashion as hair, the body also stops making nails in a period of prolonged stress. Dr Patel notes that nails are not a necessity for survival. So, they are not a top priority. Additionally, nails can become brittle, thinner or start peeling, during crisis, according to Science Daily.
How Can We Deal With Stress Effects On Skin?
1)Eat healthy, well balanced meals. Include fruits, greens and a lot of nuts and other stuff with high nutritional value.
2) Maintain a healthy bowel movement. Eat a lot of fibre and avoid oily foods. Choose a low-cholesterol, low salt and spices diet. Cut out sugar, salt and maida.
3) Exercise regularly.
4)Use herbal and natural cleansers such as fine besan, multani mitti, papaya-yoghurt paste.
5)Use a toner made of lemon, honey, basil and rose water.
6) Cover your head and face when you go out and use sunglasses. Make a de-tanning face pack with a few strands of saffron, sandalwood paste and honey. Even washing your face with clean, cool water, goes a long way.
7)Apply olive oil on hair and nails and the face. Use a fenugreek paste to get rid of dandruff.
A Few Good Products You Can Find On Online Beauty Stores To Deal With The Effects Of Stress
1) Apricot Cuticle Oil (www.essie.com)
2) CoCo Body Butter (mamaearth.in)
3)WOW Onion Black Seed Hair Oil
4)The EnQ Onion & Hibiscus Shampoo
5)Forest Essentials Kashmiri Saffron and Neem Delicate Facial Cleanser
6)Biotique Bio Apricot Refreshing Body Wash
Stress is, over and all, a problem of lifestyle. Get regular exercise, yoga or even a walk around the neighbourhood. Practice stress management techniques, keep yourself hydrated and well rested. Be assertive instead of aggressive, set limits and boundaries to limit stress. If the problems persist, seek support, talk to a professional therapist.