How stress seriously impacts our skin & hormones
Well ladies, i'm writing this with a heavy heart. I feel like a con-artist at this moment in time. Calling myself the 'skincoach' comes with some expectation to have nice, clear, even skin. And I went through 3 months of beautiful skin, which I thought was honestly the end of my acne and PMS for good - I was wrong.
The last 3 weeks of my life have been very stressful - I've had some issues in my job which have led me to feel uneasy, uncomfortable and very frustrated. These issues have left me feeling down, short-tempered and unhappy and I've tried my best to keep myself positive by continuing yoga, giving myself 'down time' and trying to surround myself with great positive people. Unfortunately, the stress has caused my skin to react (nothing else has changed in my diet etc!) - my skin has broken out like it did before, in the same areas, all over my cheeks, chin, forehead and chest and back. Its 1 day before my period, and for the last 3 months I have had smooth, happy, enjoyable menstrual cycles, this month I have felt emotional, on the verge of tears and unhappy (PMS returned!). I am mortified and feel like i'm back to square one. The biggest takeaway I can grasp from this experience is that, no matter how healthy you're eating, you need to manage stress because it holds a crazy amount of control over how our bodies function.
Why is stress so common now?
Stress is something as humans we shouldn't feel too often, however, in this day and age, we have adapted to high stress and accept it as a culture. Stress releases hormones into the body that should only be used in an emergency situation, these hormones (Cortisol & Epinephrine) are 'fight or flight' hormones and they actually deplete the female hormones of progesterone in order to do their job. When our progesterone is effectively 'stolen' by cortisol, our hormones are left out of balance. Normally, our hormones can re-balance, but prolonged stress can leave them out of whack, until we are able to manage the stress effectively. Diet definitely helps to balance the body and effectively start up the hormonal engines again - but if you are exposed to stress on the REG, you will be reversing all your hard work.
Inflammation - is that you?
Our body responds to stress by causing inflammation. This inflammation can take many forms - but on my poor body, and on many others - I get acne. It's veryyyyyy difficult to manage stress when you have a face full of spots which causes even more stress. Lord i know the struggle all too well. I also feel my melasma gets darker when i'm stressed, and despite feeling like I completely eradicated my melasma, I do feel like a little darkening has occurred these past few days! Once again - not happy about this, but I am becoming more in-tune to my body, and i'm thankful that it is warning me that something isn't quite right.
It's clear that our bodies are effective messengers, and therefore when inflammation appears on our skin, we must work to eradicate the inflammation internally. Eating healthy is definitely one way to go, cutting out sugar, caffeine, alcohol and letting the body recover from the inflammation. Getting more sleep is another way to reduce inflammation. Meditating, getting out in nature, yoga, catching up with friends, or just speaking about what you're unhappy about can be a form of therapeutic stress relief, and its very individual to each person to how they find their stress management strategies.
I've found the most effective way of managing my stress is to talk to the person who is stressing me out, or if you're stressed about a 'situation' or a 'thing' - talk about that thing or situation to someone close to you, confide, reach out, let off a big cry - it helps trust me.
I'm going to manage my stress by continuing to be open about my problems, taking time for myself, reading, yoga, and doing everything in my power to respond in a way which doesn't inflame my body. An app I recommend is "Head space" for meditation. I'm going to practice meditation 10 minutes before bed every night for the next couple of weeks.
Your skin is telling you something...
If you ladies have felt stressed, or have gone through a period of heavy prolonged stress in your life, this could definitely be the reason for your skin problems, whether that be acne, melasma, eczema or rosacea.
This week I will be aiming to post a lot about stress managements tactics and strategies and i'll keep you all updated on how my skin is responding to these.
Although i'm unhappy that my skin is going crazy right now, and my PMS has returned, i'm confident that I can turn this round and be a happy little bunny again!
Have a great week ladies and will keep you all in the loop - bye for now!