How Stress affects your skin?

The relation between stress and skin

The brain recognizes any abnormal event as a threat or stress. The threat could be anything from strenuous physical activity, mental stress, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, starvation, anger, illness, injury, infection to even routine irritability.

The hypothalamus of the brain releases the corticotropin releasing hormone in response to the recognized threat. The CRH in turn sends signals to the pituitary gland in the brain to release the ACTH hormone. ACTH then tells the adrenal glands which are situated on the top of the kidneys to produce the so-called stress hormone or cortisol hormone. Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream have been shown to have negative effects such as low immunity by reducing the body’s immune system response, suppression of the digestive system, the reproductive system and the growth processes. Increased oil secretion by the sebaceous glands and delayed healing of any wound. So stress increases the formation of villainous free radicals in the body inducing the skin changes.

Have you noticed that when you’re happy your skin looks healthy and glows without you having done anything this is because the skin barrier function remains normal the skin is well hydrated and the blood circulation is adequate. Stress has manifold effects on your skin some of which are visible but most of which work at a deep cellular level causing even greater damage.

Stress can cause?

Stress causes a lack of sleep resulting in dark circles and baggy eyes. It impairs the lipid barrier of the skin leading to dry dehydrated skin. It reduces skin immunity thus making it more susceptible to infections and allergies. It makes the skin more sensitive by releasing inflammatory neuropeptides in the skin which could lead to itching, redness, hives etc. It exacerbates existing skin problems such as psoriasis, eczemas, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, lichen planus etc. It also increases oil production leading to clogged pores, whiteheads, blackheads and increasing cystic and nodular acne. It increases the formation of melanin thus causing hyperpigmentation. It also releases free radicals in the skin which accelerate the degradation of collagen and elastin fibers resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. It causes excessive hair loss by speeding up the hair cycle and moving the hair into the telogen phase it also speeds up greying of hair.

How to cope with stress?

Although it’s impossible to remove all the stress from your life, there are techniques to help you cope with stress more effectively. Do not neglect your skin, follow your skincare routine, and pay attention to your diet include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables low fat, high-fiber food. Make sure you restrict the amount of sugar caffeine and junk food. Avoid smoking and alcohol.

Exercise regularly. Exercise improves blood flow and muscle tone throughout your body, and it also helps normalize blood sugar and hormone levels. An adequate supply of quality sleep increases our tolerance to stress and illness and helps the hormone melatonin to function normally and ease your stress.

You could learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation or yoga. Pamper yourself periodically with a massage or a spa treatment. Take up a hobby you enjoy it’ll take your mind off your worries and help you relax. Deal with any emotional issues you may have if something or someone is bothering you learn to put your message across to them if you do not voice your feelings it will lead to agony resentment and more stress. Reach out to a family member or a friend or seek professional help. Always have your to-do list ready to plan your work in such a way that you can complete all your tasks in the stipulated time. Poor time management can lead to a lot of stress. Stress is often the result of bad planning or bad execution of a good plan.

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