Your skin and stress: What a mess!
It’s a week before Christmas and let’s be real, I am in panic mode. The malls feel crowded (even 6 feet apart). For the 10th year in a row, I can’t figure out what to buy my dad. And to top it all off I can’t even enjoy my Eggnog latte because of this mask! The struggle has been real my friends. Stress has been hitting us all hard during these unprecedented times. We’re short tempered, irritable and hey maybe even a little crazy at times. We’re doing our best to stay on the nice list, but it’s harder this year, isn’t it? All this stress isn’t just affecting your mood though; stress also has a huge effect on our skin. But how?
So, here’s the big debate: is stress good or bad? It all depends on what type of stress we are dealing with. There are two types of stress: chronic and acute. Acute stress is a-cute-stress. By that I mean it’s a small stress or a stress that happens and ends. Some examples if acute stress would be a test, a traffic jam or giving a speech. Chronic stress however, is a type of stress that is reoccurring. For example, things like bills, bad relationships, a yearlong pandemic… You get the picture. But stress is stress, right? Wrong! Our body processes stress differently depending on what kind of stress we are experiencing.
How does our body deal with acute stress?
The body responds well to acute stress because it is designed to recover from short term stress. When you are stressed, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. It also releases adrenaline. This does several things like increase your heart rate, stimulates your flight or fight response and releases sugar to your muscles for energy. The right amount of acute stress tunes up your brain and keeps you alert. It also improves your performance and motivates you to complete tasks. When the “event” is over, your brain is notified and your hormones level out and your body normalizes.
How does our body deal with chronic stress?Unfortunately, our bodies don’t handle chronic stress that well. When you experience chronic stress, your body is constantly being signalled to release cortisol. Therefore, your body never gets a chance to recover and your hormones don’t balance out. Studies show that long term exposure to high cortisol levels can affect parts of your brain and your body. High levels of cortisol are also linked to memory problems, mood disorders, high blood pressure and cardiac problems. High cortisol also increases appetite which is why “stress-eating” is a real thing. As I am currently shoveling 7 gingerbread cookies down my throat… Do I finish strong with a candy cane? There is some science behind stress and what is happening in your body. But what’s happening to your skin? New York plastic surgeon Lara Devgan told Vogue “Any type of stress can manifest in your skin, since it is the largest organ in your body”. Your skin is also your bodies first line of defense. It protects us from invading pathogens, changes in temperature, diseases and chemical substances. Stress and high cortisol levels in your body can cause an imbalance in your skin which can lead to accelerated skin aging, increased inflammation, barrier damage, acne or breakouts, dehydration and sensitive or sensitized skin. Emotional stress is not the only type of stress that affects your skin. Environmental stressors play a huge role and can take a toll on your skin. Skin can become more sensitized and reactive. Pollution, humidity, dust, wind and other environmental aggressors can cause adverse reactions in your skin. This also results in accelerated skin aging. UV exposure and lifestyle can cause cell damage, free radical activity, reduced cell turnover, decrease collagen and elastin production which can result in a compromised barrier.
Now that I’ve given you all the info, let’s talk about something that is so important to me. I know you guys are used to product recommendation after I’ve filled your brains with information but that’s not what I am here to talk about today. I want to talk about balance & recovery. The thing I love about being a service provider is helping people heal and recover their body and mind. I am not a doctor, but the truth is we are approached with a lot of people who have problems and are looking for solutions, whether that be a touch therapy or retail therapy. I think we can all admit that touch is getting harder to come by, especially these days. So how do I help you recover? Well, through 3 very special things: touch, breath and aroma.
Touch, breath and aroma play vital roles in our services. Whether you are getting a massage or a facial, we like to treat your mind, body and soul. We incorporate deep breathing, massage and essential oils in our services to give you a whole body experience. Touch, breath and aroma affect our bodies in a physiological way (your body) and in a psychological way (your mind).
Did you know?
Essential oils work on the body in 2 ways: through the inhalation of the aroma as well as the topical application to the skin! Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol. Now don’t get me wrong, we do have a ton of product to help your stressed-out skin but I do believe that it is important to address the underlying issue which is what is causing you stress. Now I know, we can’t rid ourselves of stress completely. But it is important to take care of yourself and your skin.
Take a moment for yourself every day, meditate, do some deep breathing, even take extra time in washing your face. And if you’re not in the mood to do it, come into any of our locations. We would love to treat you. Don’t forget to be good to yourself and get back in control of your skin and your life.