“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” ― Sun Tzu, Art of War.
So, in order to fight stress, we should start from learning what is stress?
According to American institute of Stress, stress is the sense of having little or no control. It is subjective, and for the same event that might be stressful to one might not be stressful to the other. For example, a roller-coaster ride can either be stressful for one and absolutely enjoyable to another.
But do you know that your skin can also get stressed? Your skin reads stress in the environment based on the temperature, or pollution, or the sun. The sensory nervous system on your skin is then triggered and sends “stressful” signals to your brain. Another factor is diet, you could be eating something that is not easy for you to digest and a stress response could be triggered. Say you have gluten sensitivity. You eat gluten and you get bloated and your skin breaks out, your eczema gets worse.
How does Stress affect the body?
- ↑ Stress hormones (Adrenaline and Cortisol) from adrenal glands
- ↑ Blood sugars
- ↑ Blood pressure
- ↑ Heart rate
Body starts to go into “fight or flight” mode. You have to appreciate that this is an ability had allowed our ancestors to survive to this day. Gone were the days where animals were giving chase to the humans through the juggle, but our body still perceives the modern-day stressors as the tiger’s chase.
As you may have discovered stress causes breakouts, but it is way more complicated than that. Stress triggers the release of cortisol and an excess of it stimulate the sebaceous glands in your skin to produce more sebum, a natural oil that lubricates your skin. Sebum protects the skin keeping it moist and acts as a protective barrier. However, an overproduction of sebum can clog pores and create an environment for bacteria associated with acne to grow. Increase cortisol also impacts on your quality of sleep and diet. This impedes your immune system, leading to breakouts.
Life is not easy, it is hard being a human, but you’re not alone. And we are here to help. Check out the previous post for some of the modern day treatment that can help you combat a breakout.