Beauty may be more than skin deep, but stress can be written all over your face.
Wrinkles, acne, rosacea, eczema and even a simple case of dry skin can be warning signs that your body is undergoing a serious bout of stress. When most people consider stress and their health they immediately point to cardiovascular disease or nervous disorders, but your skin is often the first place that stress can appear.
The surprising reason why skin, the largest organ in the body, responds so immediately to stress is a simple matter of a chemical reaction which naturally occurs in the body. When someone is under a stressful situation their body produces a mass amount of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a major stress hormone that causes inflammation in all organs, especially the skin. You could view it as having a case of the skin flu.
For instance when the skin becomes inflamed from the cortisol, the cells begin to break down. A breakdown in skin cells results in acne, wrinkles and dryness, all as a result of the cortisol being constantly released by the stressed immune system. This is why studies have shown that students studying for exams show a 23 percent increase in skin flare-ups. This also applies to older people, who, while not as susceptible to acne, may show a drastic decrease in elasticity during stressful times.
Stress can be a killer, not only literally, but also cosmetically.
So how can one try to avoid the damaging affects of cortisol? One great example is exercise, the ironic part of that is when people are stressed their healthy habits go to the way-side. Exercise, face-washing, and healthy eating are often the last thing people think about or want to do when they are worried about other things. Exercise is a fast-acting way to release cortisol in a non-inflammatory manner. Another natural way to keep cortisol, the naturally damaging element to skin, is to get enough rest. During sleep, the body’s natural production of cortisol is at its’ lowest levels. Therefore, the more sleep you get, the more time your body gets to relieve itself from its’ damaging affects.
Other more topical solutions can be used, including moisturizers, retinol A and glycolic acid which can be found in drugstores as quick fixes to the problem.
But the best advice is to try to keep to your normal routine of self-care and management, no matter how hard that may seem to be when your mind, and body, is racing due to an imbalance in your personal life.