Is all this COVID stress and anxiety making your skin wrinkly? Patchy and dry? Acne or eczema acting up? Psoriasis flaring again?
Well yes and no. No, stress and anxiety won’t quite lead to wrinkles, but the truth of the matter, is that the mind, body and emotions are thoroughly interconnected and affect each other in myriad ways. So yes, stress and anxiety and the resultant flood of hormones can indeed affect your skin in more ways than one.
Without boring you with a long biology lecture, here are the basics. Stress causes a change in brain and body chemistry, affects the endocrine system (which produces hormones) and can have a significant impact on skin. During moments of tension or stress, the endocrine system produces an excess of cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” which can wreak havoc on everything from your immune system to blood pressure. Stress increases cortisol production from the adrenal glands, which also increases sebaceous gland activity, to produce more oil and sebum. This in turn can lead to increased skin sensitivity, acne, inflammation, itching etc. Cortisol can also weaken your skin’s immune system, leading to oxidative stress which can manifests itself as fine wrinkles, lines, puffy and generally lacklustre skin. And with increased inflammation, it can also exacerbate skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
So what’s a girl supposed to do? Well to start with, using superior quality skincare products will make a big difference!! If your skin is really in distress use products that contain natural aloe vera, chamomile, oatmeal…ingredients that soothe inflamed and sensitive skin. Contrary to common belief, oils can be very beneficial to acne as well as dry, flaky skin. Stay away from artificial fragrances, phthalates, paragons, SLS (Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate)and preservative laden cosmetics and always, always read the ingredient list. It’s why I created Mood Indigo to begin with…. junk free and scented with essential oils that have researched benefits to mood and emotional well being. But the beauty counter can only help you so much, as the real changes for stress and anxiety have to come from within.
And clearly, our collective tension is rising right now as we slowly begin to re-open and emerge from our cocoons of safety and comfort. The shelter in place orders offered us some modicum of safety from this virus. And now with a mixture or relief and a dash of anxiety we will head out to begin to reclaim some parts of our old lives, even as we create new ways to reconnect and restart our communities.
These are strange times we live in and clearly, our collective tension and anxiety is growing as we gradually re-open and attempt to find a new normal, whatever that may mean. And as we emerge from our cocoons of safety to reclaiming parts of our lives while staying safe from this virus, doing the basics like getting enough sleep, eating your veggies, being in nature, moving your body and calming your mind will be more essential than ever, to your emotional well being and by extension, to that of your skin! And figuring out how to find humor, to laugh and be silly even in the midst of these trials might be more important to your well being than you know.. To find humor even in the darker moments, and to find some lightness and joy in little things…. Like yanking weeds out of a garden bed one satisfying weed at a time or creating a TIKTOK!! Hope you’ll laugh with me as you watch this one and reach for it when the anxieties begin to rise. I’ll save the Zen parts of this equation for later!
We are going to get through this together, and we are going to be OK.
As always, much love to you,