Stress is in our lives all the time and our body responds to stress in varying ways. Stress affects almost every system in our body, influencing how we feel and behave. Now scientists tell us that stress exacerbates skin disorders like acne. If you have acne, stress will very likely cause it to flare up.
Stress and Acne: An Unhappy Relationship
Published research studies confirm what health care professionals have suspected for a long time: stress worsens acne. In a Stanford University study, for example, investigators found that college students had acne flare-ups during exams, a period in which they reported more stress, compared to periods without testing. Acne severity was very often directly related to increased stress.
Unfortunately, scientists are unclear about exactly how stress makes acne flare up. They know that cells that produce sebum have receptors for stress hormones. Sebum is that oily substance that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to clog the hair follicles, leading to a pimple or acne cyst. Under stress conditions, more sebum is produced to clog the hair follicles to allow more acne to develop. The mechanisms of action resulting in acne are a complex mix of factors, but for sure, stress is an important one.
Stress and Acne: The Harmful Cycle
Acne can both create emotional stress and be the result of emotional stress. There is no denying that living with acne is stressful. But your stress and anxiety may also be causing your acne. Everybody, especially young people wanting to make friends and to be accepted socially, feel stress because of acne.
Hormonal imbalances are the major underlying cause of acne. When you are stressed, your body produces excess stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. The hormone cortisol in particular appears in excess in people experiencing hormonal imbalances such as teens and premenstrual, pregnant, or menopausal women, who also often experience acne. Anxiety and stress may also cause shifts in other hormones, or cause your body to process those hormones poorly. Excessive cortisol suppresses the immune system, which can lead to a variety of unhealthy consequences. Controlling out-of-balance hormones might be helped by taking natural stress relieving dietary supplements, especially when accompanied with regular exercise and eating healthy foods.
Stress and Poor Food Choices
Many people eat more when stressed, a natural response to stress because it helps in the short-term. Carbohydrates stimulate the production of the hormone serotonin, which improves mood and decreases anxiety. Regrettably in the long-term, stress eating will make you fat, a result difficult to offset with exercise. Being obese can make you feel bad about yourself, stressing you out and making you want to eat more carbohydrates.
Reduce Stress Naturally
Regular exercise: health care professionals say that exercise is the best way to reduce emotional stress. There’s no need to go crazy with an aggressive exercise program. The key is to do a little every day. Ten thousands steps a day is a great target. Keep it simple and keep it regular. Develop this wonderful habit for better health and emotional well-being.
Relax: take time each day to meditate or do deep breathing exercises. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. In addition, meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may improve certain medical conditions, like keeping those hormones in balance.
Get a good night's sleep. Sleep is as important as natural food and exercise to enhance our well-being. If we don’t get enough sleep, our ability to manage stress is compromised. Sleep regenerates our energy level; reduce stress to improve your overall health.