It’s a bland, midweek Covid world afternoon. News channels are on blast, you’re sipping on your fourth cup of adrak ki chai and there’s a string of animals and birds enjoying the quiet streets. Yes, just another day *cue sarcasm*. You’re going about your business till it hits you like a wave. Boom! Hi stress. Almost like your bothersome cousin turning up at your doorstep more often than you’d like.
Now hold on. The good thing is that you’re not alone, my friend. Stress is common and we all go through it. However, data shows that this physiological monster is on the rise, making this dilemma an integral part of everyday life. While a couple of bad days can pass off as harmless, regular stress can do more harm to you (and your skin). That said, we took matters into our own hands and decided to focus on the potent effects stress has on your skin. Ahead, six ways stress plays havoc with skin. Now, are you going to wait till the cows come home to fix this? Not on our watch. We’ve listed solutions so that you can get right to it. Let’s go.
1. READERS, DIGEST!
Did you know that when the mind detects stress, it can slow down your digestion? It can cause a decrease in oxygen blood flow to the stomach, leading to an imbalance in gut bacteria and inflammation. A recent study shows that high levels of stress can affect the digestive system much like a high-fat diet. The internal inflammation can lead to gastrointestinal issues and IBS which eventually causes your skin may to break out or experience flare-ups or eczema. Start your morning with warm water with a slice of lemon, practice meditation (it’s important) and lean on probiotics that promote good gut bacteria. Oh, and please drink plenty of water. Download the water reminder app if it need be.
2. THE WRONG BAG
Tomorrow's to-do list, a nasty boss and irritating colleagues can all weigh on your mind, keeping you from getting enough beauty sleep. This can cause fluid to pool below your lower eyelid area, and what you end up with is a puffy mess in the morning. Belly sleepers, bad news. You can expect the puffiness of your under-eye bags to be even worse because of gravity. Before you hit the sack, take big breaths that fill your belly, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth to calm anxiety. Until you train yourself to sleep on your back, surround yourself with pillows, especially under your feet, and use a potent under eye cream to treat the bags.
3. THE DIGITAL ABYSS
Sleeping with your phone next to your pillow often leads to you endless browsing with you eventually getting lost in thate inevitable virtual blackhole. What you fail to realize is that the blue light emanating from your phone screen is so jarring to the naked eye, that you subconsciously end up frowning the entire time. If this happens for days at a stretch you actually end up developing mild frown lines (Egad!). So, start by trying to avoid sleeping with your phone under the pillow or by your bedside. That’s the first sign of stress and obsession. Fight it. Sounds easy but very hard to follow. Till you strictly get this right, use a firming formula to combat the fine lines.
4. STOP PICKING ON YOURSELF
Skin picking, also referred to as dermatillomania, is an irresistible urge to pick, dig, rub or scratch one’s skin with their fingernails. This can have disastrous effects resulting in wounds, sores and eventually, scars. The most common form is when you start picking on a pimple or flaky skin on your lips so severely that you rip off a large piece of skin, causing marks and your bottom lip to bleed heavily. The aftermath is not worth it. Save your skin from getting damaged further by keeping your nails short, try squeezing a soft ball as distraction or put on gloves when the urge kicks in.
5. CHECK YOUR NAILS
Studies prove that checking your nails on a monthly basis is highly recommended. If you see vertical lines along the length, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you see horizontal ridges (aka Beau’s lines) that run side to side, you need to get it looked at without delay. They tend to appear when the body is compromised by stress and typically mean there is something more serious going on in your system. Don’t forget to check your toenails too. Consulting your doctor would be the smartest move. But until then, if the lines drive you bananas, conceal them with a ridge filler and nail art until the problem is resolved.
6. BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE
Stress causes your skin sheet to flare up. This can end up ether as an acne breakout or a bad case of psoriasis. Pro tip. Stress releases something commonly called the ‘stress hormone’ aka cortisol. This bad boy can throw off the other hormones in your body and cause breakouts on your face and body. It can also disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut. That can then show up on your skin in the form of a dreadful sea of stubborn pimples. When your day gets difficult, pause and indulge in an audio book or a soothing podcast of your choice to massage your stress. Use a salicylic acid infused cleanser to tackle these little monsters for quick relief. Try it to believe it. Or you could soothe psoriasis inflamed skin with a Vitamin E infused formula.
If you’ve reached the end of the article, you know what to do. When you’re overworked, exhausted, worry about deadlines or a hundred other things, pull out this piece and brush up your tips. All it takes is dedication with a sprinkle of patience. Since we are all on the same bandwagon, let’s stop focusing on the negatives and the unpleasant aspects of the current situation. Think positive, happy uplifting thoughts. We’re in this together. Start today. Act now. #AdresssTheSress