Is Your Skin Stressed? 5 Things You Can Do to Calm it Down!

by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM June 01, 2020 0 Comments

Is Your Skin Stressed?  5 Things You Can Do to Calm it Down!

A seemingly unstoppable disease, the possibility of a lay-off, and an economic meltdown – these are just some of the 'stresses' that come with the Coronavirus. Outside of these, you might also need to deal with the stresses of work, studies, relationships – the list goes on. 

Unfortunately, these stresses can lead to skin problems. This phenomenon, which wraps around the ‘mind-skin connection’ is the focus of the emerging field of Psychodermatology. 

In her interview with WebMD, Karen Mallin, PsyD explained that "nerve endings are connected to the skin, which wrap around the organs, so as emotions are played out neurologically, they can be expressed through the skin.” 

With that being said, stress can wreak havoc on the skin. It can trigger inflammation, as well as bring about dry or oily skin. It can also pave the way for some scalp, hair, and nail conditions. Worse, it can aggravate or trigger acne, eczema, and rosacea, to name a few. 

So if you are currently experiencing any of these skin problems – your stress levels might be to blame. With that being said, the best way to get rid of these conditions is to calm your stress. Here are 5 good ways to do so: 

  • Exercise 
  • Exercise goes beyond conditioning the body. It can help promote mental fitness, and as such is effective in reducing stress. 

    According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, physical activity helps produce ‘natural painkillers’ known as endorphins. For one, these chemicals can help improve sleeping patterns, which may be disrupted due to stress. 

    To wit, anxiety can be reduced by as little as five minutes of aerobic exercise. As such, regular exercise is one of the best ways to decrease tension. Better yet, it can also help boost mood, as well as enhance self-esteem. 

  • Consume stress-relieving food and drinks
  • Are you one of the many people who eat due to stress? While this can make you gain weight (especially if you eat fatty food), eating the right way can help lower your stress levels. After all, "Eating a healthy diet can reduce the negative effects of stress on your body," Matthew J. Kuchan, Ph.D. explained in a report

    To keep your stress low (and your skin clear), make sure to consume these foods and beverages:

  • Fatty fish, including tuna, sardines, and salmon. These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fine-tune your adrenaline levels. The result? A calmer, more collected you. 
  • Fermented food. Yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and miso are just some of the fermented foods that can help reduce stress. These fares are rich in probiotics, which help balance the gut microbes that may trigger chronic stress. 
  • Dark chocolate. A favorite since ancient times, dark chocolate is a sweet treat that helps reduce stress hormones. It can also help flood the circulation with serotonin, a feel-good hormone. 
  • Green tea. This soothing drink contains L-theanine, an amino acid that may help lower anxiety levels. 

  • Take good care of your skin
  • You might be stressed all over, but that's no excuse to not take care of your skin. You might be busy with many things, but you only need a few minutes to perform these skin-saving tips:

  • Don’t pick your pimples!
  • Yes, it can get a wee bit boring this lockdown. Although that is the case, even if you have all the time in the world – you should not pick your pimples! According to an interview with Dr. Dendy Engleman, "Popping pimples can actually spread the bacteria, push it deeper into the skin, and make the pimple worse and take longer to heal."

  • Use gentle skincare products.
  • You might be tempted to use strong acne-fighting cleansers and exfoliants for your pimples, but it’s not a good practice. They can irritate your skin and make your stress-related breakouts even worse. As such, you need to set your sights on gentle skincare products, as they are more helpful in taming your skin problems.

    • Wear sunscreen.

    You might spend most of your waking days indoors, but that does not mean that you are protected from harmful UV rays. For one, the sun’s rays can penetrate through your windows. The devices you use also emit blue light that is just as harmful to the skin. With that being said, you need to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, even if you’re just at home for most of the day. 

  • Meditate 
  • Meditation is an activity that has been practiced for hundreds of years. While it was previously done to understand life forces, it is now used to relax the mind – as well as the body.

    Meditation involves focusing your attention on a certain thing. To do so, you need to remove all the thoughts that stress your mind. A few minutes of meditation can help bring peace, balance, and calmness into your being. 

    Examples of meditative activities include:

    • Guided meditation, where you visualize a place that you find relaxing. 
    • Mantra meditation, where you repeat a calming phrase or thought. 
    • Mindfulness meditation, where you make yourself ‘aware’ of living in the moment. 

    What's great about this stress-relieving activity is that anybody can do it. It does not require any equipment as well. You can do it at home, at work, even while you are cleaning your drawer! 

  • Try cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, this approach helps individuals identify their wrong behaviors and thoughts – and correct them along the way. As such, this stress management technique delves with stress awareness and the identification of dysfunctional thoughts. 

    Once these problematic issues are identified, CBT introduces helpful interventions such as cognitive restructuring, problem-solving training, assertiveness training, relaxation training, anger management, and time management. 

    CBT goes beyond reducing stress. Research shows that it may help improve one's quality of life as well. 

    In a Nutshell

    Stress can affect your skin by triggering inflammation, sebum production, and many other problems. As such, the best way to keep your skin blemish-free is to reduce your anxiety. You can do so easily with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a good skin care regimen. Meditative activities, as well as CBT, may help reduce skin-damaging stresses as well.