We’ve always been told that stress leads to bad skin, but did we really believe in it? Now study has shown that stress definitely leads to a host of skin problems that stand in the way between us and clearer skin.
Remember the huge zit before your big presentation? Was it just bad luck or did stress have anything to do with it?
“The nervous system, which processes our stress, has an impact on conditions such as psoriasis” explains Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic in Singapore.
In fact, research linking the nervous system and the skin has long been understood. If you interrupt the nerves’ path to an area of a patient’s skin affected by psoriasis, the psoriasis improves. As further evidence that skin conditions like psoriasis can be triggered by the nervous system, when psoriatic patches were injected with local anesthetic, the condition improved. This information strongly suggests that nerves play a role in how psoriasis operates.
In a Japanese study, mice genetically prone to develop a rash similar to the inflammatory skin condition atopic dermatitis did so when stressed, while mice that were not exposed to stress did not develop the rash.
Many types of cells in the skin, including immune cells and endothelial cells (cells that line blood vessels), can be regulated by neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, which are chemicals released by the skin’s nerve endings. Stress can result in the skin’s nerve endings releasing an increased level of these chemicals. When this occurs, it can affect how and at what level our body responds to many important functions, such as sensation and control of blood flow, and can contribute to the symptoms of stress that we feel. In addition, the release of these chemicals can lead to inflammation of the skin.
What was surprising however was that while commonly believed, research has not proven that stress causes skin aging. When combined with exposure to ultraviolet rays, animal studies have shown that stress could have an impact on the development of skin cancer. In the study, when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, stressed mice developed skin cancers more quickly than mice that were not exposed to stress.
If you are suffering from any inflammatory condition such as acne, psoriasis or eczema, here are some ways you can ‘de-stress’ your skin.
One of the biggest stressors is sleep deprivation. Having a good sleep can help to recharge your mind and help your skin repair and regenerate itself optimally.
Read More: Best Ways to Improve Scars
This may sound cliché but a poor diet does put all sorts of stresses on your body. Add in smoking, alcohol and a host of other toxins, your body could be struggling to cope. Watch your diet, make sure you are getting enough fresh, unprocessed foods and abundant amounts of coloured vegetables so your body is stocked up on vital vitamins and antioxidants.
Read More: Happy New EAR
#3 Topical probiotic
Topical probiotic is the way to go if you want to balance out the skin microbiome. Study has shown that probiotic can improve inflammatory skin conditions and strengthen the overall skin condition as well.
Read More: How to Make My Surgical Scars Disappear?
Good hydration isn’t just to keep the skin soft and supple, it fulfills an important function of building up a good skin barrier. This is vital to protect the skin from environmental stressors as well as improve skin moisture levels. Dry skin is more prone to sensitivity, irritation, and poor healing, not to mention scarring. To give your skin the best chance to cope, ensure you keep your skin well-hydrated. Well-hydrated skin needs to start from using a soap-free cleanser which does not strip skin of excess moisture, then followed by a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type.
Read More: Confessions of a Skincare Addict
#5 Inner Calm
There are plenty of stress reduction techniques out there. Experiment with stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi while you continue your treatment plan as prescribed by your dermatologist. You may find that they will work better when you are calm and relaxed.
Read More: The Truth About Antioxidants for Skin