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What does stress do to your skin?

Not only does stress make life unpleasant, it’s also written all over your face!
 

Photo: Pexels

In a survey conducted by JobsCentral, more than 60 per cent of the Singapore workers expressed that they were undergoing immense pressure and stress from their jobs. Stress is part and parcel of life - what matters is how you handle it. This includes doing things like getting enough rest and exercise, having a healthy well-balanced diet and taking good care of yourself in general.

If stress is not properly managed, it may manifest on your skin and body, in ways that you won’t like. Here are a few ways stress wreaks havoc on your complexion and what to do about it.

 

Dry skin

Photo: Pexels

Excessive chronic stress can cause the cortisol level in your body to spike, which in turn damages the skin’s ability to hold on to water. Also, when you are under pressure from your job, chances are you’re not drinking enough water. While beverages like coffee can provide a reliable pick-me-up to soldier on, finish your meetings and meet your deadlines, it can be very dehydrating. When your body doesn’t get the hydration it needs, your skin will feel dry and tight.

What to do: For skin that is hydrated from within, you should ensure that you are drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. Also, slather on moisturiser immediately after cleansing your face to trap the existing moisture in your skin. In addition to hydrating your skin, you should also exfoliate your skin two to three times a week to slough off dry and dull skin from the surface.

 

Wrinkles and fine lines

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When the cortisol level in your body rises due to chronic stress, it triggers an elevation in the blood sugar levels in your body. This in turn damages the collagen and elastin in the skin that is required for plump and smooth skin.

What to do:  When you encourage cells to turn over, new collagen is produced and this helps to create plumper skin that diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. When shopping for skincare, look for ingredients like vitamin C, peptides, alpha hydroxyl acids and retinoids which help to speed up the cell turnover and production of collagen.

 

Breakouts

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Apart from drying out the skin and causing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, high cortisol levels in the body can also lead to an overproduction of oil that clogs pores, causing blackheads and breakouts. Whether it’s acne, psoriasis or eczema, stress can cause skin issues to flare up. Stress can also wreak havoc and disrupt the balance of good and bacteria in your gut which manifests in the form of acne.

What to do: Manage your stress by practising deep breathing or meditation to calm your mind, body and soul. Additionally, include fruits, vegetables and high quality proteins in your diet to maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut by cutting down on the sugar.

 

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