Stress Related Skin Conditions
In this blog, we’ll look at stress related skin conditions, and things you can do to help reduce stress and improve your skin.
Most people look at me like I’m mad when I start asking about their stress levels during a skin consultation. Skin related skin conditions are a ‘thing’, they are very real and if you suffer with these symptoms, they are likely to leave you feeling even more stressed and fed up!
Here’s something you might be surprised about – your stress hormone, cortisol can wreak absolute havoc with your skin if it’s out of balance! It can cause breakouts, sensitivity and a generally sallow and dull looking complexion. There’s more information about that in my blog post HERE.
Stress Related Skin Conditions - Symptoms and Signs
These are all common signs that your skin is suffering as a result of stress. I used to suffer with stress eczema on my hands and eyelids when I was in a stressful corporate job. It was awful, particularly on my eyes, as my eyelids would swell and be so painful. Thankfully, I don’t suffer with that anymore, but I can completely empathise with you if you have any of these symptoms.
The good news is, there are things that you can do to help your stress levels and improve your skin!
Stress Related Skin Conditions - what causes them?
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it responds to everything that is going on internally, as well as external factors. If your body is placed under stress, then your body will react to this stress and often show up in your skin with one or more of the symptoms above. You might also experience digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog and anxiety – to name just a few stress responses. So lets have a look at some of the common causes of stress on your body.
Stress is a very real problem, not just when it comes to our skin, but to our overall health and wellbeing too. If cortisol, your stress hormone, is out of balance, then it can cause imbalances throughout your entire body. Excess cortisol can cause all manor of problems in your body, as when this hormone is running wild, it shuts anything down that is not vital to your survival!
So, lets look at where stress responses are (were) useful for us. Back in the good old caveman days, stress was vital to our survival. Our ancestors were running from lions, hunting down food sources or protecting their families, their lives literally depended on the release of cortisol and adrenaline into the blood stream, making their survival the ultimate priority. These stress responses were necessary and, they were also short events. Once the stressful event (running from the lion, for example) was over, the body had time to rest and recover, allowing it to rebalance it’s internal systems. Harmony was restored.
Lets cut to today’s modern day living, where thankfully, we do not have to run from lion’s or fight off tribes’ to protect our family. BUT, and this is a big BUT – we have continual low levels stress in our lives. Constant micro-stresses that cause our cortisol and adrenaline levels to be higher than we need and making our body think we are in a state of stress. This constant wave of micro-stresses is what’s damaging our health and affecting our skin.
Have a look at the list below and see how many micro-stresses you identify with.
All of these micro stresses put your body into a state of constant and continual low level stress. This leaves you with high levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your system, that you simply don’t need. Your body thinks you need to run from the lion or protect your cave, so it keeps you in this state of stress so you’re ready to jump into action at any given moment! Great when you’re a caveman/woman, not so great when you’re trying to call Interflora to arrange some flowers for your mum’s birthday at the last minute.
The consequence of these unnecessarily high levels of adrenaline and cortisol are that your oh so clever body isn’t worried about balancing your blood sugar, keeping your hormones in check or making sure you have a good digestive system. It just wants to keep you from the danger (that you are not in!). I call this a ‘misappropriation of danger response’. You’re not in danger, you’ve just dropped a ball or two in your busy life.
So, I hear you ask, what’s the answer? We’ll now look at ways you can reduce stress in your body, and improve your stress related skin concerns in the process.
Stress related skin conditions - how to reduce stress
There are many simple things you can do to reduce stress in your life. You might be reading this and thinking ‘yeah, right’ – I used to think the same, but you can do this! I used to rush around like a lunatic, always thinking about what else I needed to do, always in a state of anxiety. I looked and felt awful, for a long time. I was burnt out, and beating myself up for not being ‘good enough’ in the process. Here’s some easy things you can try:
Don't stress out about trying not to stress out!
If you’re anything like me, change can cause you more stress! So, don’t put pressure on yourself to make massive changes. Don’t have a long ‘to do’ list for your stress management, you don’t need to meditate for one hour a day, exercise 6 days a week, or switch to a strict diet.
Just find some little changes you can make, that ultimately make you feel good and less stressed. Tuning in to how you’re feeling is key – if it feels good, do more of that. If it feels bad, then do less – or better still, stop altogether!
Be mindful of the people you spend time with. If you’ve got people in your life that cause your stress levels to rocket, then think about how you can either limit your time with them, or improve the time you do spend with them.
Be kind to yourself, don’t berate yourself if something doesn’t go to plan. I always like to think about what I’d say to my best friend in any situations where I have negative self chat – that usually shuts me up and makes me much kinder to myself!
This might all sound like madness in relation to skin, but trust me – stress is real problem for your skin. No-one needs healthy, glowing skin in the middle of a ‘fight or flight’ situation – which is what your body thinks is going on when you’re stressed. If you can reduce your stress levels, you’ll see your skin improve and you’ll feel a whole lot better on many other levels too.
Stress related skin conditions - it's an inside job too!
Glowing skin is achieved by looking after your skin from the inside out too. In my Cheat Sheet below, you’ll see some advice on foods you can eat to boost your skin quality. Ignore the fact that the Cheat Sheet is for acne prone skin, the advice is still applicable for getting that glow! There’s some really simple changes you can make to your diet that will help you too.
Here’s Cheat Sheet, with some top tips on how to look after your skin at home. Just click on the link below.
If you’d like to find out more about treatments that could help you, then you can book a free consultation with me.
Keep your skincare simple
The best thing you can do for your skin when you’re suffering from stress related skin conditions, is to keep it simple.
Most of us have a tendency to think ‘more is more’ when our skin is stressed, but actually less is most definitely more! I favour the Katherine Daniels Skincare range because it’s natural and simple, whilst being results driven. It’s an easy 3 step system (4 if you like skin treats!), that’s sustainable, and help to repair and rebalance your skin. It’s also very reasonably priced, which makes it sustainable for the long term.
If you need a little helping hand
I swear by these supplements. Skin Perfecting Complex is an anti-inflammatory skin supplement (that is also a collagen booster). It’s incredible at reducing internal stress in your body and, whilst it’s designed for skin, it has a great effect on overall inflammation in your body too. I recommend these supplements to my clients with inflammatory skin conditions, including rosacea, psoriasis and acne. I also recommend it to my clients with arthritis and conditions such as fibromyalgia. I’ve personally taken this for 2 years now, and it’s worked wonders on my skin and overall pain levels from multiple knee surgeries.
Are you ready to take the next steps?
I hope that you have found my blog on stress related skin conditions helpful. If you’d like to have a chat about how I can help you, then please get in touch. I offer a free consultation. We can then discuss the best course of action for you.
I look forward to helping you transform your skin! Nikki