Although the holiday season can be one of the most wonderful times of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful! It’s no wonder that many people experience breakouts, redness, and utter skin “chaos” over the holidays. Beyond making us feel anxious or exhausted, stress can have a big impact on the health of our skin and significantly affect its appearance. Here are five telltale markers that your skin is stressed out and that you need to take a deep breath and little time out for YOU this holiday season.
#1 – Everything that CAN go wrong IS going wrong on your skin.
Stress tends to exacerbate every skin condition we already suffer from. If you’re struggling with acne, stress will inevitably cause more breakouts. If your issue is rosacea, get ready for more redness and flushing when you’re stressed out. When we’re stressed, our cortisol levels (stress hormone) rise and can trigger an inflammatory response in our bodies. This is bad news for acne, and rosacea sufferers, as inflammation is a critical component of both of these conditions. Midwest winters’ dry, cold climate adds further insult to injury and can also cause flare-ups for psoriasis and eczema sufferers.
*Make an appointment with your skincare professional to help rebalance your skin and address any flare-ups with key products and treatments.
#2 – HELP! My skin is soooo itchy!
If you’re feeling super itchy this Winter, it may not be because of your wool sweater! This can make skin feel more sensitive and itchier and even cause a burning sensation.
#3 – You see flakey skin and fine lines in the mirror.
The average Midwest home is drier than the Sahara desert in the Winter! That’s because when we crank up the indoor heat, all of the moisture is zapped from the air. This can be especially hard on skin that is already dry or dehydrated.
When we’re stressed, our body needs to work harder to complete its daily tasks. Water and hydration play integral roles in how efficiently and effectively the body can function. As the largest organ of our body, our skin is usually the LAST organ to receive hydration because our major organ systems monopolize it. That means if we’re not taking in enough water, skin can get seriously flakey, tight, and itchy. This makes it look dull and can even make fine lines and wrinkles appear more prominent.
*Make sure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water in the Winter to ensure your skin is getting the hydration it needs. Meet with your skincare provider to discuss exfoliating and moisturizing products to keep skin hydrated and comfortable.
#4 – It seems like your skin takes forever to heal.
You did a no, no, and popped a pimple. Does it feel like the mark is taking FOREVER to heal? It may be because stress weakens your body’s ability to heal well.
*Be gentle with your skin when under stress. Avoid picking or squeezing any breakouts.
#5 – Seriously, do I have a cold, AGAIN?
Our skin is our body’s first line of defense against the germs of the world, and stress can seriously compromise its protective barrier. That can mean more infections and illnesses for us! When skin is stressed and dehydrated, it can experience more cracks and openings. This “permeability” leaves us more susceptible to invaders like bacteria and more vulnerable to contracting an illness.
We can’t visually SEE stress, but it is always there. When heightened and left unchecked, it can affect the appearance of our skin and our overall health. Find activities that you enjoy to reduce stress, like hiking, a soothing bath, or a relaxing facial treatment at Harmony Wellness! We can never fully eradicate stress from our lives, but we CAN find ways to manage it in a healthier way!