If you live in the modern world, you have a job, a family, relationships, bills to pay, you drink coffee or alcohol, you don’t get enough sleep or exercise, your skin is breaking out, if you’re human… chances are you are probably stressed!
When we stress, the mechanism in the body that switches on is our “fight or flight” response. This causes the stress hormone cortisol to raise, sending blood flow to the limbs and away from non vital functions and organs such as the immune system and our precious skin.
The fight flight response is a primal survival mechanism for when the body senses a life threatening situation. The problem is, our perception of stress is so highly altered in modern life that we hyper react to perceived stress as opposed to a life threatening situation warranting a fight or flight reaction. Rendering so many of us in a constant and heightened state of stress :/
So, with our immune system weakened, we can no longer fight the acne infection, redirection of blood flow is starving the skin of oxygen and constant output of cortisol is feeding into an inflammatory cycle (All things the P.acnes bacteria loves 😱) And this is just the beginning, as that stress pathway gets ramped up, it begins to deplete your super important female hormone Progesterone which is required for healthy cycles, balanced hormones and happy skin.
Stress can also cause our skin to produce its own androgens (male hormones) leading to further inflammation and epithelial hyper proliferation (dead skin cell build up)
Stress is so powerful that it can override many of our healthy choices.
The fact is, in this fast paced world we live in, stress is a constant daily reality so why wouldn’t we better equip ourselves with tools to help manage it better?
Here are some easy tips to implement into your everyday routine which can minimise the impact of stress on your health and your skin:
Sleep– aim for 7-8hrs and go to bed the same time each night, wake the same time each morning to help regulate cortisol and melatonin.
Meditation– Download some Apps on meditation and mindfulness- Headspace, Smiling mind, 3 minute mindfulness
Mind frame– mindfulness and positivity take practice but can be powerful in managing stress better. Listen to some Podcasts- Happier with Gretchen Rubin, The minimalists, The daily boost and The one you feed.
Caffeine– avoid or minimise as it CAUSES it’s own stress response. If you do drink caffeine make sure your last cup is 10hrs before bed
Sugar– avoid as it causes a spike in insulin which raises cortisol
Screen time– Blue light can raise cortisol, especially at night. Try f.lux on laptops and night shift function on iPhones or blue blocking glasses
Me time – doing the things you love that make you feel happy and relaxed naturally increase your anti ageing and anti-inflammatory hormone DHEAS. Do more of what brings you JOY!
Body work– Kinesiology, reiki, massage and acupuncture- some amazing balancing body work therapies that you can assist in lowering stress and treating skin holistically