If you’re like me, it seems like life has been moving way too fast. I seem to be always on a plane and striving for some kind of balance between being a wife, a mother, a clean freak, working and keeping my friends close – life really can become a lot to handle. There is so much to do yet so little time to do it. It is easy to feel anxious – you’re tired and exhausted, yet you have to run because you’re already late for work. Yikes! All of this can be very stressful and, sadly, our skin receives the brunt of this. Stress can affect your whole body, including your skin, hair and nails. Yep, your emotions have a powerful effect on your skin. Since stress is a part of life, what matters is how you handle it.

How Does Stress Affect Skin?

Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. Why? Because the adrenaline rush we’re experiencing almost in a daily manner can also make it harder for skin problems to heal. Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed, you break out more? This is because stress causes your body to produce cortisol and other hormones, which tells your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin problems.

Stress can also worsen psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. In addition, stress can cause hives and other types of skin rashes, and trigger a flare-up of fever blisters.

It can also interfere with daily skin care. If you’re stressed, you might skimp on your skin care, which can aggravate skin problems.
Skin problems themselves can also be stressful. I had my first case of the 24-hour hives this week—it completely freaked me out. A big thank you to local board-certified dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo for patiently holding my hand and viewing photos via text four states away. Anyway, point is some people are so embarrassed by their skin that they keep their issues to themselves or create behavior that adds more stress, which can in fact can worsen the problem.

8 Ways to Reduce the Effects of Stress on Your Skin

• Do not neglect your skin. Take care of your skin, even if you’re tired or stressed.
• Get regular exercise. It is good for your skin and the rest of your body.
• Take time for yourself to do something you enjoy, such as taking a bath or reading an article from start to finish, even if you only have 10 minutes.
• Take a walk around the block.
• Practice stress management techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, mediation or visual imagery.
• Get enough sleep – seven to eight hours each night is ideal. Lack of sleep is a major contributory factor to our stress, and this causes major changes in our skin that are detrimental to our beauty including blotched skin, dull complexion, dried skin, weight gain and noticeable dark circles around the eyes.
• Say no. You don’t have to say yes to everything! It is OK to set limits and boundaries to lower your stress.
• Talk to someone. Seek support from a friend or a professional therapist or a board-certified dermatologist.
So rather than letting a vicious cycle of stress affect both you and you skin this new year, remember healthy and younger looking skin is also a result of a healthy mindset – just a healthy lifestyle isn’t enough. You need to think positively about things so your body can perform the way it should. Remember, stress will make your skin suffer and your beauty as well. If you don’t get stress under control, it will control you – so be sure that your mind is exactly where it’s supposed to be. Happy New Year!