If you have ever thought that stress caused your breakout…you may have been right.
Skin issues always seem to come at the worst possible time, and it’s not divine misfortune. Our bodies react to the environment we are in, and if we’re stressed — it can affect our precious skin.
You’re breaking out right before your big presentation at work. Or your eczema starts flaring up when your personal life is spiraling. You’re not imagining things. Stress really does show in your skin.
The problem most of us face is that it seems like a never-ending cycle. You’re stressed so your skin flares up. Because your skin flares up…you’re stressed. It’s like a nightmare you can’t wake up from.
But we’re here to help. We’re going to talk about exactly how stress is affecting your skin and what you can do about it.
Our bodies react to stressors the same way — regardless of what’s causing it. Unfortunately for us, our skin can’t tell the difference between being chased by a bear and worrying about what your coworker said about you.
The problem is that your body reacts with inflammation. As you probably know, inflammation causes your skin to go bonkers. When you are stressed out, your immune system gets ready to go to war. It releases certain chemicals that help your body fight off whatever it perceives as a threat which causes inflammation.
This can be especially problematic for those of us with existing skin conditions. Conditions such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis can flare up easily when inflammation is introduced, making stress a main culprit of these types of breakouts.
The difficulty here is that stress is so…stressful. It comes from things we can’t control and is difficult to manage. Normal healthy routines go away and we end up doing far more harm than good for our skin.
Sometimes our immune system isn’t to blame for breakouts or skin issues. Stress may still be the suspect, but it’s our unhealthy coping mechanisms that cause the most damage.
Some people touch their face a lot when they’re stressed out which can introduce a ton of random dirt, debris, oil and other unwanted pore blockers to your face. This is obviously a no-no. We all know not to touch our face but it’s difficult to remember when you’re stressed out. This is usually a big factor with acne breakouts.
Stress also causes us to adopt some pretty unhealthy eating and sleeping habits. We know that what we eat can affect our skin — and we all need sleep. Being mindful when you’re stressed out about what you’re eating and how much sleep your getting will help break the cycle.
It seems like a simple fix right? Get rid of stress and you’re skin will glow, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Having some de-stressing techniques in your back pocket like meditation, deep breathing or even exercise never hurts. It will certainly help with managing your stress and helping your skin calm down.
But again, with the dreaded cycle of stress and skin — if you’re stressing about de-stressing it’s not doing you any good. The best advice we can give is to be mindful of what stresses you out and when your skin acts up.
If you notice that you have flare-ups every time you have to see your mother-in-law or have a doctors appointment, you at least have time to prepare.
If your symptoms just keep coming back and you can’t seem to find a solution — you should speak with a professional. Dermatologists understand how stress can affect your skin regardless of if you have a pre-existing skin condition.
They may even suggest speaking with a mental health professional to help mitigate stress. This can be a huge help, as they are able to give you even more personalized stress management techniques and tips.