Part 1: Stress

We’ve all heard the myths about what causes skin issues.  Some are true, some are false, some we believe either way because why not?!  Today we are going to discuss one theory that has a lot of research to support it. STRESS!  Stress has a huge effect on your skin.  Stress causes a chemical response in your body that triggers your hormones, specifically cortisol, to tell your glands to create more oil.  The oil creeps out of your pores and hangs out on your skin causing a whole slew of problems!  EEK!  Excess oil when combined with bacteria is the perfect breeding ground for acne.

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In addition, stress can cause flare ups of skin conditions you are already biologically predisposed to, like eczema, rosacea, or hives.  Your body perceives stress as a threat.  In response to this threat your immune system goes into overdrive.  This is great when your body is trying to fight the flu, but with stress your body can start to attack itself which can cause flare ups making your skin inflamed, itchy, dry, oily, red, scaly, etc.  The response is quite different for each person. Regardless of your skins response to stress, the result is annoying and it can stress you out more.

When I am stressed I break out into hives. They are itchy and they hurt and they drive me insane!  The hives actually cause me more stress than whatever was actually stressing me out to begin with!  It’s an absolute nightmare!

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The obvious answer is to avoid stress all together. That sounds easy enough?  No, not really. It’s not about eliminating the stress in your life, but rather managing the stress in a productive manner. I chose to employ a few stress reduction techniques that allow me to manage my stress.

Here’s my stress management plan:

  1. Exercise! It doesn’t matter what you do, just get up and move.  Sometimes I run, sometimes I take my kids to the park, sometimes I pop in a video and get a quick workout in, other times I dance while I do dishes and sweep the floors.  No matter what I do to get in some exercise it always helps me release stress and it has the added benefit of making me look good naked!
  2. Me time! Take time for yourself and do things you enjoy.  Sometimes when I’m stressed out I like to go to Marshall’s and wander around.  I rarely buy anything and I certainly don’t try things on (that usually stresses me out) but it makes me happy to look at all the shoes and purses and blankets. Find what makes you happy and do that thing and do it for YOU!
  3. Pick up a good book! I LOVE reading!  It completely feeds my soul and takes me to places my bank account won’t allow for. I read a little every day but when I’m stressed out, I read A LOT!  It’s one of those activities I do for me and only me and it’s a one-person activity that requires complete concentration which means I’m not paying attention to anything else.
  4. Talk to someone! Would you be surprised if I told you I occasionally see a psychiatrist? It’s true!  I have a lot of stress in my life.  Sometimes it helps to talk to someone completely unconnected to your life and it helps if that person is a professional that went to school to learn how to listen to people.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help with the stressors in your life.  If you aren’t quite ready for a professional, you can always connect with that gal pal that is an amazing listener and have a gab session every once in a while.  PRO TIP: DO BOTH!  I see a professional AND I chat with my family and friends about my stress.

Our next blog post will launch Wednesday!

Christy 🙂

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