Stress takes an immense toll on your mind, but did you know it can also affect your appearance? Chronic stress can impact your beauty in two significant ways. First, when your body is stressed, it releases hormones that can cause physical changes, especially in your skin. Second, stress changes your appearance by making you more likely to pick up bad habits, such as biting your nails or touching your face.
Many internal factors affect your appearance, and it is important to determine what is causing specific changes inside that could impact the outside. You can usually tell when you are feeling stressed, but sometimes making the connection between your stress and beauty can be more difficult. Identifying your stress as the cause can help you better understand how to find solutions.
Your skin is a common victim of stress, as it can cause acne, dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Stress can also increase hair loss. Luckily, once you understand what is causing these problems, you will be able to find solutions to the issues so that you can go on feeling and looking your best.
Increased or New Acne
Even if you have never dealt with acne, being overly stressed can cause your skin to break out in several ways. First, when your stress increases, so do the cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps regulate stress. Unfortunately, as cortisol works to decrease your stress, it can cause an array of other issues, including acne.
Stress can also change your eating habits, which can sometimes affect the levels of healthy bacteria in your gut. This change in your stomach and digestive system makes you feel bad physically and can also show up as acne on your skin. Stress also causes inflammation in your body, which can manifest into inflammatory skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
Increased cortisol levels can cause your skin to become dry and dull because cortisol makes it more difficult for your skin to repair itself. It also decreases your skin’s ability to retain water and moisture. The presence of cortisol in your body takes up space, forcing women’s estrogen levels to drop. Estrogen helps your skin produce collagen, a protein that helps skin stay moisturized and bouncy.
Stress also causes your body to produce adrenaline, which decreases blood flow, oxygen levels, and other nutrients in the skin, making it appear dehydrated and less radiant.
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Years of facial expressions and movements create wrinkles and fine lines as we age. While this is natural for everyone, those who deal with chronic stress find themselves furrowing their brows, frowning, and pursing their lips more often than others. These facial movements will make you more likely to develop wrinkles in general and sooner than you may have.
A major impact stress has on the appearance of aging can once again be blamed on cortisol. When cortisol increases in the body, it raises the sugar levels in your body and begins a process called glycation. This process attacks proteins like collagen, giving the skin a more hardened texture and enhancing the appearance of wrinkles.
As your hair grows, dead strands naturally fall out. However, stress could accelerate your hair loss if you notice an increase in hair in the shower drain or your brush. Your hair goes through two stages before it falls out, growing and resting. When you have stress, your hair skips the growing step and goes straight to resting, which increases the amount of shedding and decreases what is being replenished.
The most important step to solving these physical problems is to address and remedy the cause of your stress. We all get stressed now and then, but if left unchecked, chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind, body, and overall lifestyle. There are many ways to deal with stress, but first, you must identify your triggers and what exactly is causing them.
You may not have time for a trip to the gym, but exercising is one of the best ways to decrease stress. Even if it is just a short walk, getting your blood flowing is also good for your complexion. Breathing exercises are clinically-supported methods for reducing stress, and many psychologists use this to treat patients with anxiety, ADHD, and more.
Individuals whose stress is linked to racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, or constant restlessness, should be tested for ADHD. Those with this neurotype often experience elevated stress levels because they have difficulty focusing or calming their body and mind. Since stress begets more stress, managing your ADHD is a way to stop this cycle in its tracks.
If you suspect you have ADHD, or if stress feels unmanageable on your own, speaking to a medical professional might be the best option. Your doctors or an online ADHD diagnosis service will be able to help you best identify the cause of your stress and how to deal with it. Managing your stress will make you feel better on the inside and look better on the outside.
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.