How Stress Affects Our Skin
According to a study in the United States and Malaysia, our generation or the so-called “millennials” suffered and are suffering more stress compared to the other generations. This term has been used by a lot of people when they are frustrated, angry, or pressured. But what does it really mean?
What is Stress?
Stress is the feeling of tension we feel when we are in danger or when we think about our problems, work-related stuff, and even heartbreak. This is our body’s response to any change or demand.
Is stress normal?
Yes, it is. No one is safe from it but don’t worry because not all stress is bad for us. Like what was mentioned above, when we are in danger our brain releases adrenaline also known as the fight-or-flight hormone that helps us to escape a dangerous situation.
Is it harmful?
There are two types of stress, acute and chronic stress. Acute stress is the short-term stress we feel from time to time, not really harmful. Chronic stress on the other hand is the long-term stress that is very harmful to our overall health.
Stress can give you a lot of things and that does not include healthy skin. We may not even know it but it can be one of the main reasons for our skin issues. Especially if we suffer from chronic stress, this can do us a lot of damage to our skin. Thank God for skincare products, right?
When we are stressed, our body releases a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone or CHR which can increase our skin’s oil production and excess oil can cause pimples. For people who already have pimples, it can actually worsen your situation as it does not help with the redness and swelling.
Stress can also cause dry skin as it lowers the skin’s water retention and higher TEWL or Transepidermal Water Loss (this happens when the water passes through the 2 layers of the skin and evaporates on the skin surface). TEWL is normal but higher levels of this can result in dry and itchy skin which may result in skin inflammation.
Premature aging can also be a result of stress because it shortens the length of our DNA strands. Our skin is also exposed to UV rays which give our skin more stress. This can also accelerate skin aging.
Chronic stress can weaken our immune system. Weakened immune systems hinder our skin’s normal function and two of which are healing and fighting germs and bacteria to avoid and fight infections. When it can’t function as it should, it will delay wound healing making our skin more prone to infections and it can lead to serious damage.
This can also worsen more serious conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, hives, and dermatitis.
Having these skin problems can also cause more stress which does not help at all. Bear in mind that having skin problems like acne is normal, don’t let society dictate your standard of beauty.
There are a lot of ways to destress in which you could do depending on what suits you best. People have different personalities; some prefer to be alone to be relaxed while some need company.
Here are some of the things you can do to handle stress:
- Engage in a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthy and getting at least 8 hours of sleep a day.
- Avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking. A lot of people smoke to relieve stress but aside from giving you lung cancer, it just gives our body more stress. Plus, it does not do any good for the people around you.
- Surround yourself with people who are healthy for you.
- Do activities that make you happy and relaxed.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Establish a routine like skincare to make you feel better about yourself.
- Exercise regularly. You may feel physically tired after a workout session but this can be good for your mental health.
- Take care of your mental health like you would for your body.
- Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need to.
- Join a yoga class. This exercise is a famous stress reliever.
- Laugh as much as you can. It can reduce your stress hormones.
Always make time for yourself and do the things that make you happy. Allow yourself to take a break when needed and cut off negative people in your life. As they say, life is too short. We have to make the most of it and we don’t want to spend most of our lives being stressed.