With warnings of heart disease, exhaustion and obesity in near constant circulation, the physical impact of stress is never too far from our minds.
But have you ever stopped to consider the way this by-product of modern living affects your skin?
While a certain level of stress is unavoidable, prolonged periods of pressure can wreak havoc on our appearance by contributing to the development of common conditions like acne, dehydrated skin and rosacea.
Stress can trigger an overproduction of the hormone cortisol, which stimulates the body’s sebaceous glands to create an oil called sebum. Excess sebum can lock dead skin cells, bacteria and dirt into the pores, resulting in unwanted breakouts.
In addition to promoting oil production, cortisol can also limit the skin’s natural ability to hold onto the moisture it needs to feel hydrated. This can cause dry, flaky skin on the face and body.
Stress prompts the adrenal glands to release a cocktail of hormones. These hormones manipulate blood pressure, widen blood vessels and shoot pro-inflammatory chemicals through your body, which in turn inhibits your natural ability to counter skin problems and results in increased blushing.
One of the most common side effects of stress is disrupted sleep. When you fail to catch a sufficient number of Zs at night, fluid builds up in the delicate tissue around the eyes. Because this skin is exceptionally thin, swelling in this area is particularly easy to spot.
When you are stressed, the nutrients that normally nurture your skin are redirected to the body’s vital organs. If your skin is deprived of these necessities for prolonged periods of time, it can be left looking drained, grey and aged. This effect is further exasperated by stress’s ability to dehydrate the skin.