Stress is a major contributor to skin problems. It may seem obvious that certain types of stress can result in skin problems, but knowing how stress can affect the skin and the mechanism for managing unhealthy stress will help you create a skin management program that goes after the cause. Remember that healthy stress can keep you focused, alert, energetic and can save your life in the right situation.
Skin Problems Associated With Stress
Stress can cause skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and hives, which means your mind and your emotions have a lot to do with the health of your skin. Many skin conditions are autoimmune and stress can exacerbate the problems.
What’s Cortisol Got To Do With It?
Cortisol is good for proper glucose metabolism, blood pressure regulation, immune function, inflammation response, and insulin release (blood sugar maintenance). However, prolonged stress and increased cortisol production can cause wide-ranging effects such as belly fat, slow wound healing, increased inflammatory response, and impaired cognitive performance, just to name a few.
There are a lot of things working to increase our stress in the world today: Money, work, career, family, bills, school, deadlines, and more. Studies show elevated cortisol levels in a large number of adults, which results in health and wellness problems, including the skin. Chronic Stress is increasing and is the body’s response to emotional pressure suffered for an extended period where a person perceives he or she has no control. If the emotional pressure continues for a long time, it can damage not only physical health but mental health as well.
Responding to Stress
How you respond to stressful situations can be measured by your tolerance levels. If you have balance in the following, you can tolerate stress effectively in your life.
- Support networks
- Sense of control
- Your attitude and outlook
- Emotional coping skills, and
- Knowledge of a situation
Again, balance is the key, and using your support networks, such as a massage therapist or esthetician on a regular basis can bring your cortisol levels down and out of the “fight-or-flight” stress levels that can affect your skin. Administered correctly, a monthly massage and/or facial can help with the root cause and address the symptoms of stress.
Our last article was an introduction to healthy skin and included how lifestyle affects us. In our next article, we will discuss how food choices affect the health of your skin.