Signs your skin is stressed and how to deal with it

Everyone has felt stress at one time or another and while we’re familiar with how this affects mental health, you might not have realised that stressed skin is a thing too.

The “fight or flight” reaction that we feel when stressed can affect circulation and move blood flow away from your skin to your vital organs, so that internal stress shows up externally on your skin.

As well as this, intense stress can affect your cortisol levels, which is linked to breaking down collagen and elastin in your skin. Losing this contributes towards signs of ageing, so stress can actually make you start to look older.

 

How to tell if skin is stressed

As with other symptoms of stress, stressed skin can manifest itself in lots of different ways. When you’re feeling stressed your skin might be:

Sign 1: Dull and dry

This can be a sign of a loss of water in the skin, leading to it not shedding as many skin cells and healing as it should.

Sign 2: Irritated

The chemical responses that happen in the body when you’re stressed can irritate your skin. This might be hives, itchiness, redness, swelling or flakiness.

Sign 3: Conditions like adult acne

There’s usually a stress hormone trigger for these types of breakouts, especially if you’re not usually prone to pimples. Conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis can all be exacerbated by stress.

 

How to help symptoms of stressed skin

To truly fix the problems caused by stressed skin, you need to deal with whatever is causing stress (more about that later) but in the meantime, there are some ways that you can help the stress symptoms on your skin:

Sign 1: Dull and dry

For dullness and dryness, try a combo of a chemical exfoliant to slough away dull, dead skin, a brightening or collagen replenishing face mask and a good quality moisturiser works wonders.

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Sign 2: Irritated

Hyaluronic acid should be a part of your skincare arsenal anyway, but if you haven’t tried it before and are struggling with stressed skin, now’s the time to try it. It’s great for hydration and signs of ageing – plus it works for all skin types.

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Sign 3: Conditions like adult acne

Adding a retinoid into your regime is a great way to increase cell turnover in the skin and help to regenerate some of that reduced collagen (as well as reducing hyperpigmentation and blocked pores).

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Any medical issues like adult acne, eczema or psoriasis are best handled by a medical professional. They can advise and guide you on the best, and most effective, method of treatment.

 

Longer-term stressed skin solutions

In the longer term, stress is no good for your skin, body or mind – whilst you can treat the symptoms and your skin’s appearance, ultimately, you need to prevent or manage the stress to see the benefits both inside and out.

Take a look at these tips for managing mental health to find out what you can be doing to help yourself to deal with the stresses and strains of daily life. A healthy lifestyle – exercise, hydration and eating well – can all benefit stress management and your skin. Win/win! 

Talking to someone who you trust, and whose advice you can rely on is another great way to help with stress. Connecting with others can help us to feel supported and just ease the mental loads. Take a look here for ideas of how to ask if someone is ok in a safe and non-judgemental way to open up the doors to start an honest conversation - it's good to talk!

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