Skin reflects your holistic health. A healthy skin signifies you are a healthy person and unhealthy skin implies the contrary. We are all aware of how physical health gets apparent through the skin, but does poor mental health also show up on your skin?
The patterns of disease have changed substantially. There has been a decline in acute infectious disorders and an increase in preventable disorders. Today, the world is getting aware of the major role that mental health plays in one’s life. In recent years, we have observed so many deaths whose underlying cause was a mental illness. This clearly indicates how mental health issues should not be taken lightly. There is tremendous help available in the world, and there is no problem that cannot be solved. A sufferer can be experiencing a lot of doubt, and mental health professionals can always help you deal with your queries and help you to get in a better place emotionally.
Two very common mental health problems today are – Stress and Anxiety.
Stress is a reaction to any physically or emotionally tiring demand. It is the reaction of your body to stressors. Stress has been classified as eustress or distress. Some stresses are chronic while some are episodic. Stress can be caused by environmental factors, the workplace, adhering to the needs of the family, noise, and so much more. Hans Selye gave the general adaptation syndrome which explained the three stages that the body goes through when reacting to a stressor.
Anxiety is the feeling of fear, uneasiness, and extreme worry. It makes one restless, makes their heart beat faster etc. There are several anxiety disorders like phobia, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. People who have had traumatic childhood experiences, certain personality traits, family history of anxiety are more prone to suffer from an anxiety disorder than others.
Stress and anxiety, in the long run, can be threatening to the individual. Sometimes stress can be a precursor to anxiety or anxiety might lead to stress. Both mental health problems affect individuals negatively. It could cause headaches, chest pain, muscle tension, fatigue, and insomnia. These are, however, only some of the physiological effects. Prolonged anxiety and stress eventually starts showing up on the skin too!
Due to insomnia, people may develop dark circles. The skin may wrinkle up, turn dry, and so on. How do stress and anxiety affect the skin though?
HOW ANXIETY AND STRESS AFFECT THE SKIN
Have you noticed immense breakouts when you are stressed or anxious? Fret not, you are not alone. Stress and Anxiety trigger and facilitate a greater production of cortisol; the stress hormone. Cortisol is responsible for causing modifications in the skin pores and this leads to increased secretion of oil. As we all are aware, oily skin is an invitation to acne. Skin pores get clogged by the oil due to which bacteria settle down and fester, through which, acne comes out. Corticotropin-releasing hormone is also known for causing acne, it is secreted during stress too.
Below are mentioned some of the prominent skin conditions caused by stress and anxiety-
Eczema or Atopic dermatitis is a condition wherein the skin turns red and itchy. It may be accompanied by fever or asthma. Usual sufferers are children but elders can also get eczema. It is a chronic condition and may occur occasionally. It can show up around your eyes, neck, head, ankles, knees etc.
B] Hives (Urticaria)
Stress isn’t the sole cause of hives. It could be a combination of consuming something. Red and itchy skin rashes or welts show up on the skin. They usually fade after running their course but may reappear.
In this condition, red and scaly patches are seen on the knees, elbows, scalp, and trunk. It follows cycles. Tends to disappear and reappears after some time.
When skin loses the melanocytes, discoloured patches are seen on the skin. Research has shown people who have perceived stress are very prone to vitiligo.
Red pus-filled bumps appear on the skin and cause flushing or blushing. They make your blood vessels prominent
F] Picking at the skin
Anxious or stressed people sometimes catch the obsessive-compulsive disorder of picking the skin. They get strong urges they cannot restrain and end up pricking the skin. It could lead to wounds, scarring, and infections.
Short-term stress or anxiety doesn’t necessarily cause the above but long-term stressors can cause this and so much more. If there is an existent skin condition, stress can worsen the outbreak and create a vicious cycle.
Stress and anxiety create low motivation and fatigue, which can make one neglect self-grooming and skincare. This can aggravate skin issues. The skin issues caused might lead to greater stress, which might put you in great trouble.
HOW TO REDUCE THE EFFECT OF STRESS ON THE SKIN?
Now that you are aware of how stress can affect your skin, you can take the necessary precautions to avoid it.
- Do not ignore skincare; don’t let your stress or anxiety interfere with your daily skin care routine.
- Exercise is a solution to so many of our problems. Exercising regularly can act as a therapy to stress, also improve circulation and be beneficial to the skin. You could try out stress management techniques.
- Do not mess with your sleep schedule. A proper 8-hour sleep rejuvenates the body for efficient functioning. With good sleep, you can tackle the stressors better.
- Seek support. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Your friend, therapist; talk to anyone. Never hesitate.
- Deny and try to avoid stuff that stresses you out.
Stress and anxiety have become as common as the cold today. Every individual experiences the two. Moderate levels of it can be tolerated, but if not attended to in time, stress and anxiety may escalate before you know, causing you serious damage. As Erno Lazlo quotes- beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle.