What Happens to Your Face When You’re Stressed
Feb 25,2022 | HISEEK PRETTY
Unless you were born yesterday, you—and your skin—have probably seen some better days. But unlike the immediate consequences that, say,the effects of prolonged stress can often be sneaky, slowly messing with your skin barrier until it’s angry, irritated and leaving you to deal with one of these four issues:
It’s not necessarily the copious amounts of pasta, wine and baked goods we tend to consume when we’re emotional (all of which, sorry, can trigger pore-clogging inflammation in your system), but also a very real systemic effect: When your emotions are high, your cortisol levels spike and trigger your oil glands to produce more oil,That oil then feeds acne-causing bacteria in your skin, leading to, yes, acne.
Though you can’t magically change the way your system operates, you can help decrease your cortisol levels with a quick meditation or workout session. And if you know you’re heading into a few days of stress, try pre-loading your skin care routine with gentle actives, like adding in a sulfur-based face mask or switching to a salicylic acid-spiked cleanser that’ll help keep your pores clear while your sebum cranks up.
The sudden urge to attack your face immediately after (or, ahem, during) a crying jag? That’s not completely on you. There’s a major brain-body connection, and we think picking can be a manifestation of anxiety,It gives your brain a fake sense of control over whatever’s stressing you out, but in reality, the compulsion stems from anxiety.Research also shows that stress can increase nerve signaling that triggers itching in your skin, so even low-grade yet chronic stress can make you extra susceptible to pressing your face up against a mirror and searching for bumps.
Back in the caveman days when a lion was chasing you, your adrenaline was part of your survival instinct. It spiked your cortisol levels and sent blood to your vital organs so you could run away.Very useful back then, but now? Those innate hormones just mess with your face. Your skin isn’t a vital organ during fight or flight, so the cortisol spike can lead to dehydration and a compromised skin barrier.
You can’t magically turn off your emotions, but you can make sure you’re layering on more moisturizer than usual during bouts of stress, like Intensive Hydrating Serum every morning and night, followed by Barrier Renewal Complex.
When your heart is pumping fast from stress, your blood vessels are more likely to be full and your capillaries dilated, which can cause immediate facial flushing and a flare in rosacea,Because cortisol happens to be pro-inflammatory, the surge of hormones can cause a swell of acne, eczema and irritation, too. You can decrease inflammation and redness with topical and oral medications, but you can’t necessarily restrict those blood vessels with anything over the counter.
Still, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with prolonged redness, just because your emotions are running high. There’s some data that shows niacinamide can help calm inflammation and redness over time, centella asiatica, a soothing, damage-repairing herb, may also help. Try adding a niacinamide-spiked serum, then moisturizing with a centella asiatic-rich cream.