Stress on Your Skin (& How to Manage It)
In the midst of a global pandemic, we are all feeling added stress. Parents might be worried about what the new school year is going to look like. Students could be stressing about learning in a totally new environment. And maybe we're all just generally stressed about staying healthy, paying bills, and maintaining some semblance of a social life.
Not only is stress an immense burden on our mental health and sense of balance, stress also comes with some undesirable side effects of its own; stress can upset the skin, causing breakouts, dull skin, and premature wrinkles. How? Increased production of cortisol during stressed times results in an increased availability of glucose in order to facilitate the fight-or-flight response. More glucose means more insulin is released, and eventually the HPA Axis (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis) gets out of sync. This causes us to develop abnormalities in our natural cortisol daily rhythm and an insensitivity to insulin. (This leads to elevated glucose which wreaks havoc on the body!) There is also evidence shown that the HPA axis hormones can be linked to certain stress-related skin diseases and skin tumors. This happens when HPA axis hormones become hyperactive in the brain, as a result of stress.
What is the best way to manage stress and keep your skin in check?
Diet! Good FRESH food, plenty of healthy fats, lean protein, green, red and yellow vegetables, and PROBIOTICS. (We love full cream, plain Kefir. It contains protein, good fat, probiotics, and calcium all in one cup!) Avoid salt, sugar, processed foods, and bad fats; these increase inflammation and risk of disease in the body and the skin.
Exercise. Get that heart rate up! Exercise every day with one day of rest a week. We know it's hard to keep a consistent exercise routine, especially during the pandemic, but pick a time that you normally feel energized during the day, and schedule it!
Regular Sleep Patterns. Seriously, get those 8 hours every night. Avoid daytime activities (like reading, watching TV, and working) in your bedroom because your body will associate wakefulness with your bedroom. Reserve your bed strictly for sleep!
Stress Management. Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, calm music, whatever gets your heart rate down. Try something that might be new for you, like guided meditation tracks or binaural beats.
Make Time for You. The world demands a lot from us. Make sure you set aside time for you to unwind with your favorite hobbies, whether it's reading, painting, fishing, or basket weaving!
Screen-Free Time. While our devices are the primary way to stay social these days, it's always important to make a concerted effort to take a time-out from screens daily! A constant stream of attention-grabbing and often-emotional data can really keep us keyed up.
Skin Care Self Care. Not only is proper skincare good for your skin, that pampering can be soothing for your soul if you allow it. 💆♀️ Treat your skin right with calibrated cleansing, essential exfoliation, vital vitamins, and proper protection.
These are the fundamentals to good health and a positive mental attitude, which helps keep the HPA Axis in check and your skin looking its best.