Have you ever gone through a stressful time and have noticed that your glow has diminished?
Or a breakout has popped up disturbing the peace within your epidermis?
There is no denying that stress is intrinsically connected to our skin.
What happens in our body when we are stressed?
It all starts with our hypothalamus, an area of our brain that is responsible for hormone production and regulation of homeostasis and function within our body.
Our hypothalamus helps to regulate our body temperature, our wake and sleep cycle (known as our circadian rhythm) and our emotions.
Our hypothalamus is connected to our pituitary gland that then sends signals to our adrenal glands releasing hormones, in this instance, stress hormones, Adrenaline and Cortisol.
In times of stress our skin can produce stress hormones such as cortisol that will then lead to inflammation within our skin.
It is during times of elevated and continuous stress where we can see and experience major disruptions to our skin.
What are the visible signs of stress?
Breakouts, hyperpigmentation, accelerated ageing, eczema, psoriasis and impaired skin barrier are all common skin conditions that can manifest on our skin.
Breakouts are common among adults due to the main trigger of stress. They show up without apology and tend to overstay their welcome. Sore to touch, the inflammation runs deep and healing takes its time.
Along with the breakouts comes post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (also known as scarring) due to the constant stimulation of inflammation.
Free radicals are the by-product of stress, known as oxidative stress. They wreak havoc to all cells within our body and can cause inflammation.
And with inflammation comes a group of enzymes that break down our collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid – the proteins responsible for keeping our skin plump, supported and radiant.
Skin sensitivity can become heightened with our barrier weakening and for some, eczema and psoriasis flare ups are a sign of a strong connection between our brain and skin.
So what can you to do lessen the impact of stress on your skin?
Leaning into our 'rest and digest' mode will significantly help to begin the process of reducing cortisol.
Daily stress reducing practices such as deep breathing, early morning sun gazing, walking or yoga, spending time in nature, prioritising self-care or simply reading pages of a book are all options to support our 'rest and digest'.
When it comes reducing stress within our skin, we need to focus on strengthening the barrier, increase hydration and incorporate antioxidants.
Ceramides, Phytonutrients, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins C and E, Mountain Pepper Berry, Jojoba and Rosehip Oil and Polyphenols, are key ingredients to aid in repairing, nurturing and hydrating the skins barrier.
About the author:
Sandra is a educator and a Professional Skin Therapist with 16 years experience within the Beauty and Wellness industry.
You can find Sandra connecting with industry professionals and continuing her education in different areas of the industry to further support her clients and fellow skin therapists with empowering them on their skin journey.
Sandra believes in a holistic approach to skin health encompassing skincare, mindset and nutrition.