Have you ever noticed how when you’re under a ton of stress – whether it’s from work, home, or whatever – you suddenly start getting more breakouts or rashes?
It’s not your imagination.
That’s STRESS at work! Yes, stress can affect your skin, hair, and even your nails – in some cases almost immediately, but in others, the results show up much later.
When it comes to your skin, cortisol (that stress hormone we keep talking about!) tells your cells to produce more oil … which makes you more prone to acne and other problems. It also can produce inflammation, which plays a role in many skin conditions.
In some people, it can even cause hives, which is a red, bumpy, and itchy reaction on the skin. It can make chronic skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis and eczema even worse.
Some skin reactions can happen immediately (like hives!). Weird TMI fact: We know someone (who shall remain nameless) who gets hives every time he has to do his taxes! But for others, it can take a day or two (or even longer) to show up.
Stress can also cause your hair to fall out (GASP!) – but usually you don’t see results immediately. When you get a big rise in stress hormones, your hair stops growing. And then, about 3 months later, it falls out.
So if you suddenly notice more hair in the shower, ask yourself what stressful event happened a few months earlier.
Your fingernails can also take a hit from stress a couple different ways.
First, if you have any nervous habits (like biting your nails, rubbing them with your thumb, or picking at them), chances are that you’re going to do it even more when you’re under stress. This effect obviously can be seen immediately.
But stress also can cause white lines to appear on your nails, and it can also make them become brittle or peel. These issues also take a while to appear after a stressful event.
So … that’s the bad news.
What’s the good news?
There are some things you can do to cut back on how stress affects your body … and also cut back on stress in general.
One of the first things to happen when we are stressed is that we let go of our self-care routines! Don’t let that happen!
Make time for yourself.
Remember: Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so take care of it!
- Stick with your regular skin-care regimen even when you feel tired or stressed
- Drink plenty of water (at least half your weight in ounces) every day
- Eat a healthy & balanced diet including antioxidant-rich veggies/fruits
- Get enough sleep (7-8 hours a night)
- Move your body EVERY DAY to burn off stress/increase endorphins (the feel-good hormones your body produces while working out)
Meditation and breathing exercises (like the kind we outlined in our free eBook Unplug) can also help to calm down your body’s stress response almost immediately!
If you need accountability or help sticking with your routines, we’re here to support you! Reach out to us to set up a consultation.