Stress Awareness Day: How the S word affects your skin

Stress affects the body in many ways, but we really see the effects on the skin since it's our body's largest organ.

That's life....

It affects us all, it's pretty much unavoidable be it your job,  bills, relationships, your family, health or, well just life. Life throws lots at us, sometimes all at once so the best thing you can do with stress, is learn to manage it. This includes eating well, getting enough sleep, maybe exercising and definitely taking care of yourself. Stress can show up in your hair, skin and nails all in ways you will not like.

Research has shown that even small work stressors and anxieties can add up and negatively impact sleep. Lack of sleep not only means dozing off  in your 10am meetings but the lack of zzzzzzz can lead to swollen eyes, dark circles, and increased signs of ageing.

A daily moisturiser with caffeine can help lighten and tighten the eye area, But there’s really no solution like getting a good eight hours of quality rest. Overnight our skin likes to repair, sleep is when our neurons recharge.

Get at least eight hours of sleep. Since the light from your smartphone's screen simulates sunlight, shut off any electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep. 

Research has found that the beauty-related signs of a stressed-out person can range from an increase in acne, dryness, redness, and, over time, rapid aging. Most of this has to do with the body's response to stress, which is to over-produce the hormone cortisol.

So, what is cortisol?

Cortisol is often called the "stress hormone" because of its connection to the stress response, however, cortisol is much more than just a hormone released during stress.  It is  critical for the regulation of our metabolism, and the body's use of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular function." This hormone is produced by the adrenal glands in response to signals from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, which is a region of the brain. So our bodies are constantly creating cortisol, but it spikes following a stressful event. However, it's different from adrenaline in that it remains elevated over a longer period of time after said event, while adrenaline, which you can feel, returns to normal levels.


During times of stress, the body will produce more of the hormone cortisol, which can stimulate the sebaceous glands in your skin to produce more sebum, or oil. Oil production is a natural process that keeps skin from drying out, but when there is excessive oil, dead skin cells can become trapped along with bacteria and dirt, causing clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Hives and Rashes

Although food is a common cause for hives or urticaria, stress can also trigger this type of allergic reaction that leads to round, red welts on the skin. Medication can often be used to treat a breakout of hives. If your rash is severe, consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Flare ups

If you have a preexisting skin condition such as eczema or rosacea, stress can exacerbate flare-ups. Keep stress at bay by sticking to a healthy skincare regimen. Take short, warm showers instead of long, hot ones, avoid washcloths so you don’t irritate the skin, and use a mild cleanser that doesn’t suds up or dry out skin. Remember to moisturize skin after showering as well.


Ageing and the sun’s rays aren’t the only causes for your wrinkles and worry lines. Stress can have a big impact on your body’s largest organ. Reduce the appearance of wrinkles by following a healthy diet, exercising and moisturizing regularly, adopting a de-stressing routine, and using a serum.

Harley Street Skin Care's Top 5 Tips for Managing Stress

Reduce your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine intake- Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it. If you swap alcoholic and caffeinated drinks for herbal teas and water keeping yourself as hydrated as possible, your body will cope better with stress.

Get moving- stress increases the level of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Physical exercise can be used to metabolise the excessive stress hormones. In doing so you should feel calmer and more relaxed. Regular physical activity will also improve your quality of sleep.

Say No- A big cause of stress is just simply having to much on your plate. Juggling plans, work, promises, meetings, kids, coffee's is hard, very hard. And there are times when it's just not possible. A stress cause is having to much to do and little time to do it. And yet so many of us will still agree to take on additional responsibility. Learning to say no will help reduce your stress levels.

No Snooze you lose- Get more sleep, a lack of it has a significant affect on your levels of stress. But as we all know, stress often interrupts the sleep making it harder for us to doze off and forget. Stress can keep you awake stopping those key hours of relaxation you need to take on the next day. We don't recommend medicating yourself to sleep but instead make your boudoir an oasis, with no reminders of the things that cause you stress. Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol in the evenings. Run a warm bath, read a calming, undemanding book to relax your body and tire your eyes.

Treat yourself and slow down- Give yourself some me time. Modern life is so busy sometimes we just need to slow down and chill out. Look at your life and find small ways to do that. Set your watch to 5 to 10 minutes ahead. This means you will get places a little early and avoid the stress of being late. In the evening allow yourself half an hour to put on a face mask and rejuvenate your skin. 



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