Sometimes it feels like we are always dealing with stress. The consistent and often elusive strive to balance work, families, home life and other commitments as well as the uncertainty that we are all currently experiencing, especially over long periods of time, can trigger the biological stress response in our bodies known as fight or flight.
When we encounter a perceived ‘threat’ (a stressor), your hypothalamus, a small region at your brains base, sets off an alarm system in your body. This signals your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol which can lead to physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure, sweating and alertness. This response is an adaptive survival mechanism in life threatening situations. However, when it becomes chronic it can contribute to a wide range of health issues including cardiovascular disease, obesity, sexual disfunction and skin problems. The long-term activation of the stress response can lead to an overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones, which can disrupt almost all your bodies processes, including the immune system.
How does stress affect the skin?
When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol and as a result your hypothalamus produces a hormone called (CHR) corticotropin releasing hormone. It is thought that CHR can stimulate oil release from the sebaceous glands around your hair follicles which can lead to acne. Research conducted in 2017 found a high correlation between higher levels of stress and the severity of acne. Stress is also known to lead to inflammation, which impacts the body’s ability to heal wounds, resulting in scarring. As stress can weaken the immune system, it can contribute to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut and skin microbiome. When this imbalance occurs on your skin it can lead to redness, itchy rashes and aggravate several known conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Stress can also impact the proteins in your skin and reduce its elasticity, which contributes to wrinkle formation. Cortisol (stress hormone) contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin which are the fibres that give skin a youthful, firm and tight appearance.
How can we help you?
If you are feeling the effects of stress on your skin, we recommend a DMK enzyme therapy treatment. This 1.5-hour treatment can help to restore the internal functions and structures of the skin and calm and stress induced flare ups. Enzyme therapy is designed to strengthen, oxygenate, nourish and tone skin to encourage optimal functioning. It works to address multiple skin dysfunctions such as acne, dehydration, congestion, redness, pigmentation, and premature ageing. We also start this treatment with mindful deep breathing of customised essential oils and perform massage to help calm the nervous system
What else can you do to reduce stress?
Encountering stress is unavoidable but having a plan to manage it can make all the difference to your overall wellbeing. Here we list our tried and tested stress management techniques
It is well documented and researched that regular exercise is an important step in stress management. There is a neurochemical basis for why you feel good after a workout. It reduces stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline whilst stimulating endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. It is also shown to improve sleep makes coping so much easier.
Another great technique to get into the habit of practicing. It takes many forms, but the premise is to train the mind to be exactly where your body is. Modern life has us making countless lists to tick off, all whilst thinking about what we need to do next. Yoga, meditation, walks on the beach, hobbies that slow the world down for a minute such as gardening are all forms of mindfulness. They bring us back to ourselves.
We incorporate this practice into all our facial treatments because it is the quickest way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which aids in relaxation, calms the mind and slows the heart rate.
If you need extra support we always recommend visiting a naturopath for nutritional support and of course talking to friends, your GP or your favourite beauty ‘therapist’ at Mount skin – we love to chat all things wellbeing