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Is Holiday Stress Wrecking Your Skin?

The holidays are looking a little different this year, but the stress we feel may be familiar: the pressure to get the perfect gift (and give it on time), how to gather safely with loved ones, making the perfect side dish, to travel or not to travel.

While we feel the effects of stress, you may not be aware of the visible effects of holiday stress on your skin. Yikes! Read on to learn what stress can do to your skin and some ways to ease stress-levels this holiday season -  so you can focus on what matters most.

Is Holiday Stress Wrecking Your Skin?

Welcome to the holiday season! 🎄

While this season is meant to bring feelings of love and cheer, it can also be a time of holiday stress.

In fact, according to a recent poll, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful. So, what is it that has us all so hot and bothered? Could it be

  • Trying to do too much (shopping, decorating, parties) and not enough time to do it?
  • Eating, drinking, and spending too much?
  • Too much togetherness or (sadly) not enough togetherness?

Regardless of what stresses you out, you probably see the effects of it on your skin. The question is – What can you do about it?

How Stress Affects Skin

Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It can also make it harder for skin problems to heal.

Have you ever noticed that you break out more when you’re stressed?

This is because stress causes your body to release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol causes increased oil production in your skin glands, which can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Chronic stress leads to constant increased levels of these hormones and can have a negative effect on your skin health.

Additionally, stress can cause increased internal inflammation. When your body perceives a threat, the immune system sends out a response to handle it – that response is inflammation. Usually, inflammation helps protect and heal our bodies, but a body under stress causes the immune system to overreact.

Stress-induced inflammation can result in skin conditions like acne, or eczema and psoriasis flare-ups. People with chronic inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and fever blisters are more sensitive to flare ups when they are stressed.

If you have a skin issue that doesn't heal or keeps coming back, rethink how you handle stress.

How to Ease the Effects of Stress on Your Skin

You probably can’t avoid stress completely, but you can try ways to handle it better. Try these approaches:

  • Don't neglect your skin. Take care of it, even if you're tired or stressed.
  • Get regular exercise. It's good for your skin and the rest of your body.
    • Even short, 10-minute workouts can lead to improved cardiovascular fitness. (We can all find 10 minutes!)
    • More control of blood sugar levels.
    • Improved focus and mood – therefore, less stress!
  • Take time for yourself to do something you enjoy, even if you only have a few minutes.
    • Take a bath, read a book, listen to your favorite music, etc.
  • Take a (mind-clearing) walk around the block.
  • Practice stress management techniques, such as
    • Breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or visualization.
  • Get enough sleep.
    • Seven to 8 hours each night is ideal.
  • Just Say No.
    • It's OK to set limits and boundaries to lower your stress.
  • Talk to someone.
    • Seek support from a friend or a professional therapist.

              And above all, give yourself a little grace. Your loved ones want YOU – not the many trappings of the Holidays.

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