Stress is a natural part of life. It is the body’s physiological and psychological response to the constant demands of life. Stress, in some instances, can actually be positive like when it keeps us alert and warns us of impending danger. But when you continue to face challenges without a break between challenges, stress becomes negative. Over time, stress could have adverse effects on your health, making you look haggard and aged beyond your years.
The following are the aesthetic symptoms of stress and how you can deal with them.
Stress is a known factor in acne outbreaks. Researchers from the University Of Stanford School Of Medicine determined that heightened stress level amongst undergraduate students during exams worsens their acne. This is because hormones that rise during stress also raise sebum production.
More specifically, when the body is in a flight and fight response, cortisol and adrenaline tells the body to release more glucose as an immediate source of energy. However, high glucose levels stimulate a gene that is associated with the development of acne. Cortisol adds to this dilemma by increasing sebum production and reducing the skin’s ability to fight off inflammation. Adrenaline, on the other hand, binds to sweat during chronic stress, bringing more pore-clogging sweat to the skin surface.
Stress-induced acne is treated in the same as regular acne. Various over-the-counter topical treatments for acne are available. If your skin’s not responding to these remedies, ask your dermatologist for topical prescriptions, such as those containing retinoid.
Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Another effect of high blood sugar levels is a process called glycation, which produces compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs stiffens collagen, making the skin appear dry and brittle over time. Cortisol also reduces levels of glycosaminoglycan and hyaluronic acid, molecules that help the skin retain moisture, keeping it supple and youthful looking.
The aging effects of AGEs on the skin naturally become more apparent as we age. However, changes in your diet and the things that you eat can slow down the process. Limit your intake of simple carbohydrates, like white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. These easily breakdown into glucose, thus increasing the rate of glycation. Traditional anti-ageing products, such as antioxidant- and retinol-containing products, can help as well.
When you’re stressed and you’re eating poorly and losing weight, your body directs all its energy in making sure that all your vital organs are functioning properly. Hence, what it deems as non-essential to survival, such as those parts of the body found in the extremities, are given less priority. AS a result, follicles in the growing stage immediately shift into telogen effluvium, or the resting and shedding phase.
Seek medical attention if you’re shedding more than 300 strands a day or if you’re shedding handful of hair into the sink. If your hair loss is triggered by poor diet due to stress, your doctor might test your vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and ferritin levels. These nutrients are essential for hair growth and your doctor might suggest supplements if you’re deficient in these. She might also suggest stress management techniques if diet alone is not triggering your hair loss.
Ragged Cuticles and Nails
Stress has no direct effect on the thickness or strength of nail beds. However, some people ease their stress by biting or picking at their cuticles, leaving them vulnerable to infection, swelling and inflammation.
You can ease the swelling and redness by applying an antibiotic ointment onto your cuticles. This also helps prevent any infection that may set in.