We’ve all experienced stress before; it’s become an inherent part of our modern day. While some types of acute stress are necessary for our health and survival, long-term or chronic stress can rampage our mental and physical health, even affecting areas like our skin. Yes, stress skin is real! Below, we’re diving deep into how stress affects your skin and what you can do about it.
Here’s How Stress Affects Your Skin
We briefly mentioned how acute stressors can be beneficial—they can stimulate your immune system or promote mental clarity in times of need. Acute stress also benefits the skin, aiding in collagen production and wound repair. Long-lasting chronic stress is another story since its stress effects on the skin are damaging rather than beneficial.
A Weakened Skin Barrier
Cortisol, the primary stress hormone that ramps up during challenging times, weakens the skin barrier by depleting the skin’s oil and water reserves and disrupting the protective microbiome. The result is TEWL or transepidermal water loss, a condition in which the skin isn’t able to hold on to its water contents, leading to dry, raw, irritated skin.
The Liver Skin Connection
Chronic stress also affects liver health. It’s been shown that stress impairs blood flow to the part of the brain that controls the liver, potentially leading to liver damage. Research has also found that natural killer cells are expanded in the liver during times of stress and may contribute to liver cell death or the worsening of liver disease.
So what does all this mean? Well, it points to stress negatively affecting liver health. Because the liver plays an essential role in toxin and waste removal, poor liver health can lead to those unremoved waste products showing up on the skin as signs of skin aging and inflammation.
It’s common to see an upsurge of acne during times of stress because multiple factors are going on within the body to contribute to acne development. Liver health and inflammation are factors. Cortisol is another since this stress hormone ramps up the production of sebum, leading to the perfect breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria and clogged pores.
How to Heal Skin and Manage Stress
Calming, moisture barrier boosting skincare products (like our Superfood Beauty Oil) can help soothe the skin, but it won’t cure stress at the source. The best way to treat stress skin is by introducing stress-reducing activities into your daily routine. Here are 5 easy ways you can help manage stress and treat the effects of stress on your skin.
- Take care of your skin, even when stressed or tired. This means washing your face before bed and sticking with a calming, effective skincare routine.
- Make time for self-care. Even small acts of self-care like taking a warm bath or going for a walk can dramatically improve your mood, skin, and stress levels.
- Prioritize sleep. It’s no secret that stress can negatively affect sleep. But the truth is that our body, mind, and skin need time to rest and rejuvenate. Aim to get seven to eight hours of restful sleep a night.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Incorporating anti-inflammatory and skin-friendly foods into your diet can help lower inflammation, support a healthy glow, and make you feel good.
- Practice meditation or breathwork. These mindfulness tools can help ground us, decrease cortisol levels, and trigger our bodies’ relaxation response.