Stress affects us all. While a little stress relaxation is OK as it allows you to respond well to deadlines or imminent danger – too much can take a toll on your health. It can affect your skin so much so that you might end up suffering from acne because of it!
What is Stress, Anyway?
Stress is your body’s response to perilous situations, whether they are real or not. It is part of the fight or flight response, which enables you to respond accordingly to a ‘threat.’ The stress response helps increase your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. These changes allow you to protect yourself from danger.
Stress in the Time of Covid-19
Stress is brought about by a variety of things. According to WebMD, about 25% of Americans experience work-related stresses. The figures might have changed though, with the wide scale lockdowns due to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. With most people working from home, employment-related worries have been reduced. Coronavirus-related stresses, however, have been on the rise.
The fear and uncertainty about the Covid-19 disease can be worrisome. After all, as per the latest Centers for Disease Control report, the disease has affected more than 427,460 Americans. With a death count of 14,696 (as of April 10), the pandemic seems to be unstoppable at the moment. The inability to control this situation is enough to cause high levels of stress in most people.
More than just affecting the health of people globally, the novel Coronavirus pandemic brings about a 'more personal' form of stress as well. According to analysts from the Brookings Institution, the US has already entered an economic contraction. Millions have lost their jobs, which is expected to be followed by millions more. The possibility of losing your main source of income – followed by your home, car, and other things you have worked hard for – can make you stressed out.
Stress and Acne
Too much stress can lead to headaches, chest discomfort, stomach upset, muscle aches and pains, and infections, to name a few. It can also lead to acne, which can manifest in the forms of pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. While it often occurs during puberty, it can affect adults as well.
Although stress plays a big role, acne can also be triggered by diet, medication intake, and hormonal changes, to name a few.
Although the relationship between stress and acne remains unclear, inflammation remains to be the number 1 culprit. According to Maydych, psychological stress can trigger inflammatory activity – which can then lead to acne onset.
Apart from the body’s inflammatory processes, the ‘bad habits’ that come with stress can lead to breakouts as well. People worrying about Covid-19 (among many other problems) usually stay up late. Additionally, stressed individuals usually forego exercise and healthy eating as well. Needless to say, these habits can lead to a bad case of acne.
10 Ways to Reduce Stress (And the Acne That Comes With it)
As the world continues to battle Covid-19, managing the stresses brought about by the pandemic seems to be a hard thing to do. Although that is the case, you can reduce your worries (and the possibility of developing pimples) by following these tips:
The lockdown may have forced you to go into a grocery run of canned and processed foods. While they are good for the quarantine, they can be harmful to your health – specifically your skin. The next time you go out again, go for healthy ingredients – fruits, vegetables, and other natural food sources. Not only are they healthy and good for the skin, they’re low in calories as well!
Being on lockdown doesn’t excuse you from moving about. You can still work out, even if you’re stuck in a cramped-up room. It’s as simple as following exercise tutorials on YouTube. Do remember to wash your face right after. This will help prevent exercise-associated breakouts, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), a lack of sleep can lead to bad breakouts. Such can prompt the release of cortisol, an inflammatory hormone that triggers acne breakouts. With that being said, the NSF recommends getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, which you are most likely to achieve during this quarantine.
Before the lockdown, you might have been so busy you weren’t able to do the things you loved doing. Well, the good news is you have the time to do so now! Whether it’s painting, photography, or any other hobby, engaging in something you love can keep your mind off breakout-inducing stresses.
Talk it out! It’s the best thing you could do with your internet connection and phone plan for the moment. Communicating with friends and family is one of the best ways to relieve stress relaxation. Who knows? Your voice may be a form of relief for them as well.
Because of the lockdown, you probably don’t have any other choice but to watch TV and surf the net. And since the pandemic is still in full swing, you can expect the news and social media posts will just be full of it. If these coronavirus updates stress you out, then it’s time that you took a TV/internet breather – even for just a few days.
You might be locked down at home, but it’s no excuse for you to not follow your routine. Doing what you did before the pandemic (that is allowed right now) - like writing reports or exercising – can help bring a sense of ‘normalcy’ into your otherwise stressed-out mind.
Even the government officials find the Coronavirus a hard thing to control. As such, you need to accept that some things can't be changed. By managing your emotions, you can reduce the stresses that plague you every day.
If you think that alcohol can reduce your stress, you are wrong. According to the experts from the University of Pittsburgh, it can worsen the stress that you feel. If you want to have a calm mind – and a calmer skin – skip alcohol for now.
Stress might motivate you to do drugs, but now's not the time for that. It can lead to a variety of complications that can further worsen your physical, mental, and emotional health.
The Covid-19 pandemic is indeed stressful, but you shouldn't let this get the best of you. By following the tips mentioned above, you can have a peaceful state of mind - and better skin health too!