Would you be surprised to hear that some of our Denver medical spa patients come in because their skin is stressed out? We usually think of stress as a physical reaction: increased heart rate, sweating and anxiety. But stress affects our bodies in other ways, too, and may come out on your face.
Fight or Flight
When you’re stressed out, your body reacts with the “fight or flight” response. Hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, flood the body in order to keep you on your toes and ready for action. Blood vessels constrict, breathing becomes fast and shallow and the heart rate increases. This survival skill can be great in moderation. Too much repeated stress and not enough time to recover, however, can have a detrimental impact on our mental and physical health.
How Your Skin Gets Stressed
In order to understand how your skin is affected by stress, it’s easiest to look at the three physical reactions one at a time:
- Hormones: Cortisol increases sebum production. This excess oil can lead to acne-causing blockages.
- Blood Vessels: Constricted blood vessels lead to poor circulation. Skin without sufficient blood supply can become flaky, dry and sensitive.
- Shallow Breathing: When oxygen supply to the skin is diminished, skin loses its healthy glow. Complexions turn pasty, and tension lines develop.
Additionally, although not directly caused by stress, many people who suffer from acne, eczema, rashes or psoriasis report that these conditions worsen during periods of stress.
Reducing stress is good for your physical and mental health, including your skin. Ways to cope include making time to just relax, practice more realistic expectations, and make sure to get enough sleep. Regular exercise can help alleviate stress as well as improve circulation. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga can also be beneficial. Dietary changes such as reducing caffeine (too much can cause anxiety) and eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies also help your body recover from stress-heavy times. Drinking enough water is also vital to good skin health.
Erasing the Stress
Although your stress may be greatly reduced after following some of the preceding coping procedures, the evidence may be permanently etched into your face. Scars from stress-related acne and deepened tension lines and wrinkles don’t disappear with your stress. Once your lifestyle is healthier, we can erase the reminders of stressful times and help you refresh with a visit to our med spa in Denver.