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How your mood can affect your skin
Let’s face it. The last 18 months have been pretty stressful in one way or another for all of us. Whether you’ve been working from home, unable to see friends and family or just navigating an uncertain time, we’ve all been impacted by some level of stress.
Unfortunately, stress doesn’t just affect the way we feel inside but also the way our skin looks and feels. Our body’s largest organ, our skin is one of the first places to show the signs of stress and the last to see the relief of overcoming it.
Today, we’re exploring some of the key ways that our mood can impact the appearance of our skin and how we can create daily rituals to help manage and support the way we feel inside and out.
Stress hormones and breakouts
You may have heard of the fight or flight response before which is a naturally occurring reaction that our body has during stressful situations. It occurs when the brain sends a message to your adrenal glands that you’re in danger, even if you’re actually not.
The adrenal glands then release hormones known as adrenaline and cortisol. These are often referred to as your stress hormones and contribute to those signature stress or panic signs such as sweating, heightened blood pressure and feeling ill.
When it comes to the skin, the overproduction of these hormones contributes to two main skin concerns – unwanted breakouts and skin dehydration. Unfortunately, the two go hand-in-hand with each other making managing these breakouts difficult.
Can stress really make us look older?
Unfortunately, yes. Not only can stress make us breakout but that pesky cortisol can interrupt our production of collagen and elastin.
If you aren’t familiar with collagen and elastin, they are the fibres that are responsible for skin that looks tight, bright, and ultimately, youthful.
This already decreases each year as we hit our 20’s but an overproduction in cortisol can speed up the process and leave the skin feeling deflated and dehydrated.
If you’re dealing with stressed out skin, the healing process may take a little longer
From breakouts, stress rashes to irritation, stress presents on the skin differently for every individual.
The one thing they all have in common is that the healing process, back to optimal skin health, can take longer than usual. This is stressful in itself and often caused by that slower production in collagen and elastin, plus the skin’s inability to hold onto necessary moisture.
So, what about the good hormones?
When it comes to mood and the skin, it’s fortunately not all doom and gloom! Hooray!
Feel-good hormones, known as endorphins, are a saving grace when it comes to managing stress and the skin. As much as we hate to admit it, getting in a workout when we’re not feeling out best can actually make the world of difference, especially when we’re talking about the skin.
This is because when we move our body it releases endorphins and lucky for us, our skin cells have endorphin receptors! When our body releases these endorphins, they work hard to buffer the impact of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, and replace them with the feel-good ones. The body is then given the opportunity to relax and calm down from the stress and in turn, our skin reaps the benefits.
Another of the good hormones is melatonin which is naturally produced by the body in darkness and prepares us for a good night’s sleep. Just like moving our body in the day helps to manage stressed out skin, getting quality sleep at night is equally as important. When we’re asleep, our body’s cortisol levels drop and during those 8 hours of sleep, our whole body, especially our skin, has the opportunity to replenish, rejuvenate and restore. Our time asleep is when our skin will work on healing any impacts of stress and work towards strengthening and repairing the damage caused.