Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? It is. So, let’s talk about stress and your skin. Let’s face it, our stress may be at an all time high lately and chances are, it’s showing up on that largest organ in your body.
Yep. Stress triggers inflammation. You see, when we’re in a stressful situation, the stress hormone cortisol is released by the adrenal glands as a physical response to that feeling of being challenged or threatened. Commonly known as the fight or flight hormone, it triggers your body to shut down normal functions of your immune system — digesting the last thing you ate or sending immune-fighting cells to kill a cold virus — to deal with a more serious situation at hand. But, it doesn’t have to be a lion or tiger triggering this fight or flight hormone. It can also be triggered by psychological or emotional stressors.
Think we have enough of that in our lives right now? And, I’m not talking about lions and tigers.
So, cortisol has an important role to play. Until the cortisol levels are too high for too long. Then it does more harm than good. High, sustained cortisol levels can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, fatigue, depression and even difficulty staying focused. And, yes, it can cause skin conditions as well because cortisol increases oil production and that can mean clogged pores, dull complexion and maybe even breakouts. It could also appear as blotchiness or redness.
But wait! I forgot to also mention that too much stress could also dry your skin out. Say what? The body is releasing cortisol to manage stress and the fight or flight reaction, but at the same time it is also releasing adrenaline which activates the sweat glands. You can become dehydrated very easily if you’re not replenishing your body with the water you’re losing. And, that also leads to dry skin.
So, here are some tips to help you manage stress and take care of your skin.
- Take care of your mental, emotional and physical health as best you can to reduce stress. That means eating a balanced, low-fat diet full of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, moving your body (even if it’s dancing in your living room or taking short walks during the day), moderating caffeine and alcohol intake and practicing meditation and gratitude. It also means cutting back on your consumption of mainstream news and trying to stay in a positive mindset rather than dwell on all the negativity swirling around.
- Stay hydrated! There are differing views on how much water you should drink every day and it has changed over the years. The current thinking is that the right amount depends on your size, weight, activity level and where you live. I would add how much stress you have in your life as well. In general, they say you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh. Every day. And, pay attention to your body. If you’re opening up the refrigerator door every half hour or so thinking you’re hungry, you might just be dehydrated. Your body has a hard time telling the difference between hunger and thirst.
- When it comes to your skin, wear your sunscreen every day! Even if you’re working from home, UV rays can pass through windows.
- Add an exfoliator. Get rid of those dead skin cells so your skincare regimen will penetrate your skin and pores more effectively for even better results. Exfoliating also helps reduce dullness.
- Use a makeup removing wipe before cleaning at night. Even if you’re working from home and not wearing makeup daily, it’s good to wipe away the dirt and oil from the day so you get the full benefits of your nighttime routine. And, if you’re working from home in your pajamas with absolutely no self care in the morning, you might consider changing that habit. Get dressed. Put “your face” on if that’s what you used to do. You’ll be amazed at how doing those two simple things will shift your mindset for the better.
Finally, if you do have skin issues that seem to have popped up recently and you’d like some advice on what to do, let me know. Using a skincare regimen that specifically targets certain issues will ensure you get the best results for your money. And, if you’re interested in learning more about the business side of things, let me know that too. I’d be honored to be part of a skincare solution that could change your life. Just send me a note here.