Feeling overwhelmed? I don't blame you.
In addition to the daily stressors of life such as school, work, relationships, family, finances, expenses, etc, we are in the middle of a global pandemic that has shifted life as we know it. We went from life being "normal" to now having to mask up everywhere we go, being nervous of other people, losing jobs, going months without income, the feeling of despair and hopelessness and overall a sense of doom. There is a lot to be stressed over and this is in addition to an increase in mental health issues related to anxiety and depression which is now more common than ever. Stress can really wreak havoc on our bodies and ultimately, our skin.
Did you know the skin is usually the first to show signs of issues going on internally?
Do you notice that when you are stressed you get a headache or a stomach ache or feel as if the world is spinning?
When you are experiencing stress, there are hormones released and the main one that is the source of issues is Cortisol.
Cortisol causes an increase in oil production which in turn clogs pores and can cause acne, throws off blood sugar, increases aging and can flare up eczema and psoriasis or shingles. Cortisol also affects our guts and a healthy gut is one of the key factors to great skin. If you're experiencing stress, the digestive system slows, which can cause cramping. There are so many issues that are a result of stress. Acne flareups are common when the body is under stress multiple times a week and you will not see your acne get better if the stress isn't under control, so it's important to find your triggers and find a solution to reduce stress. Acne tends to flare up in the cheeks when you're under stress, so keep an eye out.
What Can You Do?
First off, try and pinpoint your stressors. Is it something your'e experiencing daily (work environment, toxic relationship, PTSD, social anxiety, etc)? Is it something that has onset into your life (pandemic, major life event, etc)? Try and find what it is and you can manage it a bit better.
You could take Omega Fatty Acids for your skin and gut health as well as prebiotics/probiotics. Kefir is great for the gut as well. You can take calming herbs or supplements such as Ashwagandha, Passion Flower, CBD, Chamomile, etc, but first consult your doctor.
Counseling could be a good step if you can afford it and have the time. Yoga, daily walks, cuddling a dog, swimming, reading, etc can help alleviate stress.
You can also look at your skin care routine as "me time". Take those 5-10 minutes in the morning and time and really love yourself.
Maybe dim the lights, light a candle, put on a headband, listen to some soft music and get into your skin routine. Take the time to run washcloths under hot water and ring it out and apply to your face for a steamed towel effect and savor applying products. Maybe give yourself a Gua Sha massage or use your cold roller to soothe.
One of my favorite remedies is the herbal teas from Rabbit's Pantry. She has a blend called Anxietea that my daughter drinks and I've had it too. It's a beautiful blend that really calms you down. If you're having a panic attack or need to go to sleep quickly, their Comatose blend is amazing and I drink that sometimes at night if I really need to shut down. It's much more powerful than Anxietea. I don't have anything to gain from mentioning her company, I just truly enjoy her products.
Just remember that it is absolutely okay to feel stressed right now and always. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling that way and there are ways to combat those feelings.
Please reach out to a family member/friend, therapist or whoever you need to, to feel heard. Hotlines National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): (800) 662-4357