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Stress Effects on Skin

Stress is bad for our health in general and is something we wish to avoid. But did you know it can have a direct impact on our skin?

Stress Effects on Skin

Stress is a part of everyday life that can be caused by events beyond our control. It effects our entire body, from our hair, nails and skin to our internal organs. It is important that we recognised the symptoms of stress and learn how to handle it in order to stay healthy.

stress effects on skin

What is stress?

Stress is the body's normal reaction to situations that put us under pressure and require change to be made. Stress can manifest from our environment, physical activity or mentally from our thoughts. Stress can be positive when it keeps us alert and motivated to avoid danger or complete a current task with relief at the end. When stress becomes negative is when there is no release or relief from what is causing stress levels to rise, leading to build up of stress related tension.

stress effects on skin

How Does Stress Effect Our Skin?

Stress triggers chemical responses in our body that can alter the state of our skin. Stress effects on skin include making it more sensitive and reactive to what is going on thanks to the fight-or-flight mode that stress induces. When our body is under stress it also makes it harder to repair and heal from injuries or problems.

When we are under stress our body produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that acts as our body's alarm system and is what triggers our fight-or-flight mode. One of the effects of cortisol is that it causes our skin to produce more oil, giving us more oily skin. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin conditions - therefore meaning that more stress can make you more prone to breakouts and other skin conditions.

woman looking at her face in the mirror

How does stress Effect our appearance?

Common signs of stress effects on skin

  1. Dark circles under your eyes - stress can cause you to look and feel more tired than you are. Chances are that if you are under a lot of stress, you probably aren't getting enough beauty sleep as stress interferes with our sleep pattern. To help reduce dark circles under your eyes try using NIVEA Q10 Plus C Anti-Wrinkle + Energy Eye Cream.
  2. Worsening of acne - as stress causes our skin to become more oily it increases the likelihood of triggering acne and stress spots.
  3. Drier skin - our skin becomes more sensitive when we are stressed so it is common for our skin to become more dry. Usually when we are stressed we do not drink enough water to stay hydrated, whilst also running on caffeinated drinks such as coffee which can actually dehydrate us. If you begin to experience drier skin try using NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser Nourishing in combination with NIVEA Lotion - Dry Skin to give your body skin a hydrating boost.
  4. Stress lines - being under constant stress can impact our facial expressions. If we are constantly feeling tense we are likely to be furrowing your brow or squinting more often. Consistently making such facial expressions can lead to deeper wrinkles and stress lines over time.
  5. Thinning and greying hair - stress can accelerate the life cycle of our hair meaning it will reach the falling out stage in less time. In addition to this, stress can also halt the production of melanin in your hair meaning that it will turn grey sooner.

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stress spots

Can stress cause spots?

The simple answer is yes, one of the stress effects on skin is that stress can cause spots as well as stress lines. Stress can cause acne to flare up but it can also cause rashes and stress spots to pop up seemingly out of nowhere. Being under constant stress weakens your body's ability to heal and fight infection, as well as increasing the amount of oil on your skin so you become more susceptible to breakouts and stress spots.

stress spots

How to get rid of stress spots

Stress effects on skin can appear in the form of stress spots and pimples which are formed when we get blocked pores. Pores can become blocked by excess sebum produced by our body when we are under stress. Here are a few of the most popular ways of how to get rid of stress spots:

  1. Change your diet - certain foods are more likely to cause the appearance of spots, such as: pasta, white rice, sugar, white bread and saturated or trans fats. Try to limit your intake of these foods.
  2. Warm compress - this can soften a spot by bringing the pus to the surface.
  3. Cleanse your face - learn how to wash your face the right way to remove excess sebum and dead skin cells. Try using NIVEA Daily Essentials Gentle Cleansing Cream Wash which will soothe and moisturise skin whilst gently removing impurities.
  4. Ice packs - especially effective for hard pimples as ice can reduce inflammation and pain.
  5. Learn how to reduce stress - prevention is always better than a cure.

woman relaxing in the bath

stress effects on skin

Tips to reduce levels of stress

If you want to know how to get rid of stress spots you will want to know how to reduce stress. Afterall, prevention is always better than cure.

  1. Get more exercise - exercise is a great cathartic release and can be used to metabolise excessive stress hormones to rebalance you to a calmer state. Exercise also improves your sleep.
  2. Get better sleep - if you are sleep deprived you are far more susceptible to stress. Aim to improve the quality of your sleep by ensuring you are getting at least 7-8 hours sleep a night, have a relaxing night time routine and make your bedroom a relaxing oasis. Remember to pamper your skin with a night cream such as NIVEA Urban Skin Detox +48H Moisture Boost Night Cream which will help your skin to regenerate as you sleep so you can wake up refreshed and radiant.
  3. Learn when to say 'No' - stress can often be caused by having too much on our plate and not enough time to do all the things we need to. Knowing when not to take on additional responsibility will help you shed the burden of having too much to do.
  4. Rest or take a break - too much stress inducing tasks without enough release will lead to a build up of stress related tension. It is important to take breaks and step back in order to give yourself time to relax and regenerate. We work long hours so dedicating yourself some 'me time' to indulge in something you enjoy is critical to reduce stress.
  5. Reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine - all of these substances can cause an increase in the levels of stress in various ways, moderating your intake will help to relieve stress. 

stress effects on skin

Stress and Sweating

Sweating is your body's natural response to rising body temperature to keep you cool. One of the stress effects on skin is that it can trigger excess sweating by causing your body temperature to rise. Not only this, but stress sweating is different to normal sweating and is more likely to cause unpleasant body odours.

Stress sweat comes mainly from your apocrine glands rather than your eccrine glands (your main sweat glands). Apocrine glands are much larger than other sweat glands and are found in abundance in places with more body hair - such as your armpits and genital region. The amount your underarms sweat under stress is approximately 30x more than when you are at rest.

Sweat that is secreted from your apocrine glands tends to contain more proteins and lipids. When these proteins and lipids are broken down by the bacteria on the skin they are more likely to emit body odour. Using NIVEA Black & White Fresh Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray daily will help to protect you from stress sweating for 48 hours whilst giving you a refreshing boost.

woman looking at her armpit