While some of our best work and best decisions are accomplished under pressure, our looks may suffer because of it. Whether it stems from big-picture issues like constant work overload or money trouble, or from tiny daily hassles like getting stuck behind a slow truck, we all can experience the gnarly toll that stress can take on your looks.


It’s a topic that Dr. Amy Wechsler explores in her book, The Mind-Beauty Connection. According to Wechsler, stress is “the root of all evils today, at least when it comes to health and beauty.” The wear and tear of stress can show up in every part of the body: individual cells, bones, skin. A Dutch study from 2012 also concluded that people with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, almost always looked older than they really were. The researchers estimated that each tiny increase in cortisol aged a person by about half a year. Yikes!

So how exactly does mental and emotional stress manifest physically? And what can we do to prevent it from making us ugly?

Problematic Skin

Stress affects the skin to an even greater degree, attacking on multiple fronts. This is no surprise. Acne is one of the most common stress-induced skin ailments. While the connection between stress and acne may seem obvious to anyone who has broken out during a hard week, the evidence was mostly anecdotal until a few years later where a study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers discovered an increase in acne during stress—specifically red, inflamed pimples.

Try: Leading a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and staying active. Eat more fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables; choose leaner cuts of meats; and avoid processed food. There's a surge of workout studios in the metro such as Plana Forma and Barre3 (my two favorites) and 3x a week is enough. I also believe that fitness need not be expensive so running or a few minutes of brisk walking everyday are also great options.

Skin Disorder

Stress, it turns out, is partially to blame for several other common skin problems such as herpes viruses, eczema and psoriasis. Stress even prolongs wound healing on both the body and in the mouth.

Try: Ditching skin creams and treatments that are scented. High fragrance levels in our skincare products may trigger allergies especially on vulnerable days. The Celeteque skincare range are non-comedogenic and safe to use with no risk of causing any skin disorders even with it's highly effective active ingredients content.

Wrinkles

The stress hormone cortisol breaks down collagen, a protein in the skin that helps keep it strong and elastic. Less collagen means more wrinkles.

Try: Looking for an anti-aging regimen as early as in your mid-20's. When people are stressed out, they don’t take as good of care of themselves. They might not take the time to cleanse and moisturize, but they don't think of adding anti-oxidants such as vitamins C and E into their regimens. I recommend taking daily supplements especially vitamins C and E. Myra 300E has non-synthetic natural vitamin E that is easily absorbed in the body to fight wrinkle-causing free radicals.

Gum Disease

Cortisol (as always) may also play a role in your oral hygiene. The hormone’s elevated levels during stress may exacerbate the inflammatory response of bacteria in the mouth. This inflammation can cause the worst symptoms of periodontal disease: red, swollen and bleeding gums that may lead to tooth decay or even tooth loss.

Frazzled Hair

Telogen effluvium, a scalp disorder that stunts hair growth and causes an increase in hair shedding, is triggered by physically or emotionally stressful events including childbirth, chronic illness or surgery. Hair loss often occurs months after the event, making a direct cause difficult to pinpoint. Stress can also worsen hair loss due to alopecia, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles, typically leaving round bald patches on the head or body. 

Try: Switching to a natural shampoo and conditioner regimen. I like our locally manufactured Human Nature Natural Strengthening Shampoo made from natural ingredients that lessen the risk of irritating the scalp and any skin where hair grows. 

Weight Gain

Depletion of energy caused by stressful events increase increase levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which leads to overeating and obesity.

Try: Hitting the bed earlier on hard days. Sip a cup of decaffeinated tea with relaxing properties such as chamomile to help you sleep. And while the amount of sleep we get each night is important, equally important is sleep consistency—when you go to bed and when you get up—as well as quality. Aromatherapy products like scented candles help achieve better sleep quality. Alice Blue has a good selection of scents to choose from.

Beyond beauty and mental health, stress is linked to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, which give an even greater incentive to rein it in.

Some more ideas for alleviating the stress in your life include relaxation techniques such as massage, meditation and yoga. Other healthy, stress-reducing choices mirror the basic things that physicians recommend for overall wellbeing: taking very small, very simple steps every day.

Related Posts:
Stay Motivated to Be Fit
Beauty Diet: What to Eat
Beauty Diet: What Supplements to Take