Ever been stressed and end up with a giant breakout? It’s no coincidence. Stress and skin breakouts can go hand in hand. Even though stress doesn’t ALWAYS cause a breakout, the potential is there. When you’re stressed, your body increases production of stress-related hormones like Cortisol. This change can send the skin’s oil glands in to overtime, which leads to increased oil production mixed with dead skin. Next thing you know, bacteria has built up and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster!
Stress and the increased production of Cortisol has also been linked to pre-mature aging. Cortisol can break down the production of collagen in your skin. In the world of skin care that translates to WRINKLES!
Skincare During Stress
If you’re going through a period of stress, maintaining your skincare regime is more important than ever. Make sure you are cleansing in the morning AND at night. If you can, try to fit in a gentle exfoliation to help remove dead skin that may be lingering waiting for bacteria to arrive!
Ways to Prevent Stress and Skin Breakouts
If you really want to protect your skin from stress related breakouts, the best thing to do is make some lifestyle changes. Here are the 10 things you can do to de-stress!
- Identify the Stressor
First, you need to know what the source of your stress is. When you pinpoint your problem areas you can start making intentional decisions to minimize stress. For example, if you discover that a busy schedule makes you stressed, you can set limits for yourself and start saying no to unnecessary activities that pack up your calendar but stress you out!
- Let It Go
Sometimes identifying your stressor isn’t enough, especially when you find the stressor is not something you can change! If you find that the thing that is stressing you out is beyond your control, you have to come to terms with it. Accept the things you can’t change and understand that you if you find yourself in a situation like this, you can still control how you respond to it.
- Get Moving
A great way to get stress of any kind under control is exercise! Aim to get 30 minutes of activity each day and you’ll start to see how it helps you de-stress. But, be realistic. If you can’t fit in 30 minutes every day, do what you can. Some exercise is better than none!
- Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to wake up rested and ready to conquer the day. If you’re stressed and producing extra Cortisol, you may have a hard time getting to sleep which robs your body of the time it needs to recoup. Try to do something to unwind, so your body has time to lower it’s Cortisol levels and allow you to get some z’s.
- Write It Down
One thing that might help you unwind is journaling. If you’re stressed, pick up a notebook and make journaling a daily practice. Use it in the morning to get everything off your mind so you can focus on what needs to get done that day. Or, use it at night as a brain dump to help you get things off your mind so your body can start to relax. There is no right or wrong when it comes to journalling. Just write down what you’re thinking or feeling.
- Meditate or Practice Breathing Exercises
This is easier said than done for a lot of people. When we’re stressed many people find it really hard to quiet their mind and stop thinking for a period of time. If you can’t get in a grove with meditation just practice some simple breathing exercises. Both can be beneficial in helping you de-stress.
Here’s a breathing exercise to try.
- Be Realistic and Give Yourself Grace
You’re not going to be able to do all these things at once. So, don’t overwhelm yourself trying when you’re already stressed. Instead, look at your schedule and be realistic with yourself about what de-stressing techniques you can comfortably work in to your day without it adding more stress to your plate.
- Schedule It
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to focus on, schedule it like an appointment on your calendar. If it’s on your calendar, you may be less likely to skip when time is tight.
If you start with journaling and it doesn’t help, you don’t need to keep doing it. Evaluate the ways you are trying to minimize stress from time to time. If they are working, great, but if not, don’t be afraid to switch gears and try something new!
- Reward Yourself
And sometimes, the best way to de-stress is to keep things simple. Instead of trying to fit in a new exercise or learn how to meditate, think about the simple things you LOVE and do them. Maybe it’s snuggling with your kids, maybe it’s taking a bath, or maybe it’s watching a TV show you enjoy. Spending even a few minutes doing something simple that you love can help you de-stress and prevent breakouts!