It’s far from being a secret: high levels of stress negatively affect our bodies. We tend to notice once the signs begin showing externally. Whether it involves breakouts, hair falling out, eczema, rosacea… there are plenty of ailments known as tall tale signs of stressed skin and inflammation.
Some stress is good for us! The kind of stress that gives you drive and pushes you to chase your dreams, that’s healthy. On the other hand, chronic and ongoing stress creates the opposite effect. When your stress begins taking a toll on your day to day wellbeing, that’s when you need to take back control.
Stress creates inflammation and we usually notice the signs on our skin first. Cortisol levels increase, creating a chemical chain reaction, in turn increasing inflammatory processes. Our skin becomes more sensitive and reactive to external agitators, visible problems begin arising, and wound healing slows down. If you’re a picker, STAHP. Not only are you hurting your skin but it will take much longer to heal while stressed.
Breaking out is a common reaction to stress due to cortisol aka “the stress hormone”. Yep, hormonal breakouts aren’t always due to your cycle. As women, we tend to blame our cycle for every breakout. Next time, slow down and pay attention to what’s happening in your life.
Same idea if your skin starts reacting to products it usually gets along with, are your stress levels higher than usual? Psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and fever blisters are empowered when your body is fighting high levels of inflammation, flare-ups are to be expected if you’re prone to any of these.
But did you know stress ages you? Compare photos from day one to the end of a Presidents term and you can visibly see signs of aging from job stress. I feel like you’re probably saying “uh, like duh”, but it’s the perfect example of what extreme stress levels can do.
As dramatic as it sounds, I like to think of internal inflammation as cooking our skin from the inside out. The damage is happening at a cellular level. As your body responds to stress levels, DNA strands are shortened. Once they’re short enough, the cell dies and the body simply can’t keep up. Factor in every other daily assault to our skin cells, like oxidative and UV stress or your skin not being able to protect its self properly while it’s under attack, and you have a stealthy combination to accelerate aging.
Long-term chronic stress has negative impacts on our entire body, so don’t let vanity get in the way of taking a whole body approach to self-care. If you have factors causing chronic stress in your life, find ways to decompress and take care of yourself. Whether that’s through fitness, plenty of rest, meditation, a relaxing skincare ritual at the end of your day, or routine spa days or facials. Taking time out for yourself and learning to say no is significant to your health. Wellness is crucial. DO YOU BOO BOO.