Stress: How to combat its impact on your skin

This week is International Stress Awareness Week, so it seemed about time I addressed the impact of stress on your skin.

We all know stress is bad for us.

Word stress written in red pencil

But actually, that’s not 100% true. SOME stress can actually be quite good for us. Think about the singers that talk about their pre-show nerves or the sports stars that get pumped up for every match. A little bit of stress can actually help us perform at our best.

HOWEVER, a lot of stress is not good for any of us.

According to the experts at the Mental Health Foundation:

“When we encounter stress, our body produces stress hormones that trigger a fight or flight response and activate our immune system. This helps us respond quickly to dangerous situations.

Sometimes, this stress response can be useful: it can help us push through fear or pain so we can run a marathon or deliver a speech, for example. Our stress hormones will usually return to normal quickly once the stressful event is over, and there won’t be any lasting effects.

However, too much stress can cause negative effects. It can leave us in a permanent stage of fight or flight, leaving us overwhelmed or unable to cope. Long term, this can affect our physical and mental health.”

So, what is the impact on our health?

I’m sure you can think of that friend or family member who always seems overly stressed. They are often anxious or teary. They might complain about headaches, insomnia or even heart palpitations. Too much stress can cause sweating and hyperventilation and make us more likely to smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs more than usual. None of which are good for your body. It often becomes a vicious circle – you feel stressed, so you feel nauseous, which then makes you not want to eat, so you have less energy, feel more tired, and feel even more stressed. Or you go out and have a few glasses too many to try and forget about it all, leaving you with a banging headache the next morning and feeling worse than before you started.

I don’t think we need a PhD to know that stress isn’t any good for our skin.

Woman with acneAll that anxiety can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Smoking can also exacerbate those lines, particularly around the mouth. Stress can also trigger eczema, psoriasis and acne, or even sensitivity. Basically, any underlying skin condition you may have is likely to be made worse by stress. If you’re prone to spots, you won’t be surprised to get an acne outbreak around exams or (every bride’s nightmare) your wedding day. This Harvard Health blog actually has loads of science around why and how stress causes inflammation of your skin cells and what the lasting damage can be.

The good news? You can take steps to combat stress and its effect on your life as well as your skin.

Starting with the skin stuff, the basic tips I tell every one of my clients are the best place to start:

👉drink more water

👉look after your skin

Making sure you are fully hydrated lessens the potential impact of stress on things like headaches, but it also helps your skin cells. Dehydration is a factor in ageing, as your skin cells need sufficient water to function at their best. So get those 2L in whenever you can.

Photo Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Accumax and Skin Omegas supplements

Whatever you’re doing to look after your skin now, do one more thing. If now you’re doing nothing, then at least start with a foam cleanser to clean your face every night! If you’re already into cleansing and moisturising, try adding a serum, like the Clinicare Pure Serum which is brilliant for treating red skin, rosacea, acne and spots. Or help your skin from the inside out with products like Skin Omegas+ from Advanced Nutrition Programme, which contain fish oils and Vitamin A, nourishing and hydrating your skin. Taking that extra minute or two for self-care during your daily routine can have a big impact.

When it comes to combating stress in everyday life, I think the most important thing we can all do to help ourselves is talk.

Whether it’s to a partner, friend, family member, or even someone on a phone line like The Samaritans, who is just there to listen, it really does pay to talk. It can be such a relief to feel that you’re not the only one struggling. You are not alone. Times are tough for lots of people right now, and stress is a part of life. But there are things we can all do to look after ourselves and our skin.

Worried about the impact stress is having on your skin? I can help.

As one of my lovely clients said:

“I love coming to see you. Not only because I love the results from my treatments but you brighten up my day… you make me feel so much better about things.”

Book now for a skin consultation today, and let’s work together on helping you feel better from the inside out.

You can also download your FREE ultimate skin guide here