July 03, 2012

Stress Affects on Skin

June was a very challenging month for me professionally and personally. What summer in anyone's life isn't crazy? Well, with my company, we are currently short staffed and 6 months into being a supervisor I am interviewing trying to get some additional help for our team. On top of that I had been planning my girlfriends bachelorette party, as well as getting stuff together for her wedding, our company had officially merged into our new company, I volunteered to create a video for a company contest, my brother is moving to Colorado in a few weeks, I'm trying to figure out if I can maintain a new budget and maybe move outbefore I'm 30..and the list continues. It's been insane.

None the less the stress had really gotten to me and I noticed my skin was starting to itch really bad. My scalp, my legs, my arms..I mean everything. For the past 2 years my skin has been acting up really bad. My scalp is super sensitive and my body goes in waves of itching. My mom works for a dermatologist and I had previously gone to see him for help in this matter but besides good lotions there wasn't much I could do. And then a week ago I spoke with my Aunt and she said "Well, Danielle, are you stressed?" and I said "YES!" to which she replied. "Your stress is causing you to itch."

At first I couldn't believe it. How was that possible? I had many stressful times in life but it had never gotten to where I itched. Of course I ran to Google and instantly typed in "Stress and Itchy skin" and all these articles popped up. My aunt was right. My stress/anxiety over the past few weeks had caused me to be itchy.

What causes this is you have these epidermal layers made up of skin cells forming a strong barrier. Yet when your stressed this layer of skin cells becomes disruptive. Stress actually cases your skins cells to break up and shrink causing harmful bacteria to seep in through those cells causing Eczema and Psoriasis. I in fact have Eczema and never understood why or what caused it and all this stress over the past two years makes perfect sense.

What other things does Stress cause in regards to your skin and health?

1. Bad acne
2. Melonoma or other harmful skin cancers
3. More severe dermatitis
4. Cold sores
5. Frown lines
6. Dryness
7. Dullness

I knew stress was bad for you but I never really thought how severely it impacts your skin. I knew stress effected your insides, your brain, your heart rate but to read up on how it affects your skin has been really interesting to me. 

As a person who doesn't smoke or drink much due to the awful effects it has on your body, I am now more aware that while those two things affect your skin that STRESS is another culprit. In order to squash the stress over the years I made a promise to myself 4 years ago to never stop exercising. As of the past 7 months I have been actively doing Hot Yoga which has had a huge affect on how stress impacts my life. I realized even more so now with the stress I've been having I really need to work out at least 3-4 days a week to maintain a balance. In that balance hopefully I'll find a way to center myself and rid the nonsense from my skin.

I also suggest if you are in the same boat as me to purchase some good anti-itch lotions. There are so many great ones out there that I'm not going to name drop on this blog. Also, go to Groupon and find a massage deal in your area. Haha! A good massage does wonders for stress.

Thanks for reading! Happy 4th of July!

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