Stress can trigger or aggravate a wide range of skin conditions, from eczema, alopecia, psoriasis and rosacea. When under stress, the body reacts, prompting your adrenal glands to release a surge of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol (the fight or flight kicks in). Your heart rate increases, glucose is released in the bloodstream, curbing nonessential bodily functions like the digestive system.
Normally this stress response is self-limiting and abates once the threat passes, but if one is always under pressure and constantly feel under attack, then these hormones always flood the body, disrupting almost all your body’s processes. One of the processes it disrupts is healthy oil production in the skin. High cortisol levels cause the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, which can clog pores and cause acne. Moreover, the constant flood of cortisol alters its ability to regulate both the inflammatory and immune response, mainly because tissue becomes less sensitive to cortisol.
What it does to your beauty bits
For every unit of adrenaline or cortisol you make you well need a range of nutrients including B vitamins, Vitamin C and Magnesium. On the flip side to this and the catch 22, we need vitamin C to prevent collagen and help produce new collagen for fabulous skin, we need magnesium for strong bones and nails, But now these nutrients are in limited supply cause chances are we are not eating enough and now going through a stressful time and creating those hormones that use up these nutrients. The Skin and nail health and overall appearance is now compromised because at the end of the day the body needs to save our life first!
On top of all of this the stress response is also one of the reasons why cellulite creeps in! The natural decline in muscle mass occurs when there is an excessive amount of cortisol are made, and you are now creating the perfect place for fat to make a cosy home in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. As a result of the stress response, inflammation can go unchecked, which can, in turn, kick-start skin chronic skin conditions. A 2015 study concluded that psychological distress is often described as a causative or maintaining factor in psoriasis. This type of stress/inflammation response is the reason why you can see sudden changes in your skin despite retaining the same skincare routine.
A very Common Scenario goes like this:
- Busy and modern lives see us eating a diet mainly based on take aways or processed and packaged foods. Quick and easy!
- We live in a coffee, a drink after work society and a lot of us don’t have water as our main drink (I can say I am very guilty on this and its always a struggle to get this one right)
- Stress is creeping in, over time nutrient deficiencies especially Zinc, Omegas and Iron are more pronounced. Hair loss is become more and more, so most of girl add some hair extensions to thicken this up.
- Congested skin is now an issue, and a lot of society thinks this is when we change the skincare routine!
- Cellulite has now arrived and it isn’t always related to high levels of body fat, but more the fact that the excessive cortisol has created the perfect place for fat to infiltrate.
- Nails are hardly growing, they are soft, ridged and brittle. Breaking easily and most ladies answer? False nails!
Stress is such a big factor along with nutrition and a liver that is so loaded up with liver loaders. All of these have a knock on effect to the beauty bits we love and our body’s ability to repair, heal and protect itself is so compromised.
To Start mending the beauty bits you can start looking at
- Nutrients- Maximise your nutrient intact and try minimising artificial substances. Try eating in a way that is whole, real food and endeavour to make water the main drink.
- Support your liver, avoid liver loaders
- Build muscle- Use your body, don’t shy away from moving. Resistance training like yoga will help build up muscle. Carry the groceries, your toddler and embrace the weight-bearing movements. Garden, swim, stand and celebrate and move your amazing body!
- Lower the stress hormones- If your genetics, environment, or both make you susceptible to certain skin-related ailments, this inflammation can also make them flare up. Stress is a general trigger that can make the skin misbehave in whatever way it’s prone to misbehaving. Although making changes to better manage stress will not automatically fix any skin-related issues you have, it cannot hurt. What will help lower pressure for one person, may not work for another but a place to start is exercising daily, asking friends and family for help, talking about your problems, meditating and trying to take a break from whatever it is that is causing you stress. Dr Libby Weaver recently released a book called the invisible load and it goes deeper into what stress does to your body in general and has lots of tips and information around lightening the load, a great resource. If stress is overwhelming you, you should seek help from your doctor.
Other things you can try
You might like to try self-care. Even 10 minutes a day doing something that feels pleasurable will help you feel connected and possibly less stressed. For us, our daily self-care involves a great book and skincare rituals. Using Prologic Pre Cleansing Oil with one of our 2 Luxury Face Cleansers and then following with our Environ A, C, E oil to nourish and replenish the body! Two steps we never miss in our evening routines and a great way of showing love and self-care.