How stress wreaks havoc on your skin
Suffering from unexplained breakouts? Skin unusually oily? It’s likely these haven’t just come out of nowhere – blame it on stress. Feeling anxious and burnt out doesn’t only affect your state of mind and how you feel physically, it can actually wreak havoc on your skin, too.
So, how does stress affect your skin and what can you do about it? We chat to Brigid Walsh, General Manager of Golden Door Health Retreat and Spa Elysia, to get the lowdown on what happens to your mug when you’re feeling frazzled.
What are some of the telltale signs that stress is affecting your skin?
“Our skin is one of the most important parts of our immune system and can be the first to show signs of stress,” explains Brigid. “Regardless of what your skin type is, the main signs of stress on the skin are bumps or breakouts. When we are stressed our body produces elevated levels of adrenalin and cortisol and these hormones can have a direct impact on our skin’s condition. Stress can also worsen current skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.”
Are there specific areas of your skin that will show signs of stress?
“In a word, yes, but it’s a little complicated. Different types of stress can show up in different areas of your complexion and in different forms, so it’s worth a visit to your facialist to pinpoint your individual skin issues.
“Skin specialists often refer to the ‘Face Mapping’ technique to show clients the link between the body’s organs and if/where our stress or weakness is showing on our faces,” she explains. “Based on this technique, excess adrenalin would typically show visible signs under the eye area and [on] top of the cheekbones – they may become dry, dull and saggy. An elevated heart rate or that anxious/rushed feeling may also become visible just under the eye area and this may cause an overproduction of oil and open pores. Anxiety and stress may also cause cramps, gassiness and bloating and this will generally be found on the lower parts of the cheek area, generally in bumpy, breakout form.”
What are the best ways to de-stress your skin?
“To de-stress your skin, you have to work on de-stressing your mind and body. Slowing down the adrenal system is key and this requires conscious effort and experimenting with different techniques that work for you,” she explains.
Meditation is your friend, so be sure to take some time out of your day to focus on your mind and body. “One such technique is to firstly take some time out to breathe mindfully and to become aware of the way you feel and how your body is reacting to stressful circumstances.”
Try: Brigid’s 10-minute ‘Botox meditation’ practice
Step 1: Create a relaxing environment with candles, soft music, and/or an oil burner – whatever works for you.
Step 2: Begin by taking three slow breaths. After each breath let out a deep sigh and allow your shoulders to drop down away from the ears. Feel yourself letting go.
Step 3: Continue to work with the breath, lengthening and stretching each inhalation and exhalation.
Step 4: Listen to your breath to give you something to focus on; it will sound similar to wind flowing through a pipe.
Step 5: When you can feel yourself unwinding, bring your attention to your face. Imagine your breath being directed to every cell. Picture your skin being smooth, soft, healthy and radiant and allow this image to sit with you for up to five breaths.
Step 5: Finally, imagine a soft mist enveloping the face and that the minute droplets of water are cool and hydrating to the skin. Hold this image for another five breaths.
Brigid’s tip: Make the most of this meditation practice by drinking plenty of water and keeping your skin cleansed and moisturised with healthy, good quality skin care.
Does your skin show the signs of stress? How do you de-stress your skin?