Stress and anxiety are an inevitable part of our lives, with some periods appearing to a greater degree and others to a milder degree. Each person experiences stress in a different way. However, the mind and body in every human organism interact with each other and the health of one is inextricably linked to the health of the other. It is very likely that you have noticed that in periods of increased stress and anxiety, your body, skin and hair “react” in various ways, sending you a signal that you have reached your limits and you need to prioritize your mental health and taking care of yourself.
How is stress connected to the health of our skin and hair, but also our general physical health?
When we experience stress and especially when it happens for a long time (chronic stress), our mind tries to prepare our body for some “threat” it perceives. Our body’s immediate response is to stimulate the production of cortisol – the stress hormone. So when this happens for a long time and to an intense degree our body, skin and hair can be affected in various ways, since stress has been proven to lower our body’s defenses weakening our immune system, with everything this may entail.
Since our body’s defenses fall, when stress becomes particularly intense and chronic, then our body is more prone to autoimmune diseases or it can worsen them if they already exist. Issues such as psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, dry skin, various dermatitis and alopecia areata (or hair loss), are some common diseases that fall under the autoimmune category.
Increased oil and sebum production
Stress, especially in women, can cause hormone imbalances and the production of chemicals that increase oil and sebum production. This of course can very easily cause clogged pores, resulting in acne flare-ups and pimples.
Wrinkles and fine lines
Increased cortisol produced during times of intense stress has been shown to accelerate the aging process. This means that we are likely to show sooner, but also more pronounced signs of aging – wrinkles and fine lines.
Stress causes blood vessels to constrict, depriving hair follicles of oxygen, minerals and vitamins which are essential for the growth and maintenance of healthy hair. Hair loss or thinning even in men’s beards, can be directly linked to the stress factor. In advanced, particularly intense and chronic cases, this can be the result of autoimmune conditions such as alopecia or psoriasis.
How to deal with it
Since all of these are the result of stress, the first thing we have to do is make our mental health our top priority!
Find out what the source of your stress is and try to do whatever you can to free yourself from the daily struggle with stress. In some cases, we can achieve this by organizing and prioritizing our obligations, making some changes in our daily life, recording our thoughts or talking to someone close to us. However, if we notice that we find it difficult to deal with it, it would be good to visit a mental health specialist – a psychologist who will help us to unclutter our minds and improve our mental health.
Other proven ways to help deal with stress are exercise, a balanced diet, yoga and of course always being in touch with ourselves, observing what is it that we need and what will help us in each situation . Always remember that we all need rest. An overloaded brain will at some point reach its limits. Burdening yourself with obligations to the point where you can’t cope and end up constantly being in stressful situations is not healthy.
Make yourself your top priority. Promise that from today you will take care of yourself a little more, you will rest, you will listen to your body and you will do what you need. Remember that we all experience stress and anxiety and the best way to deal with it is by asking ourselves: “what do you need?”, “what will make you feel better?” and to ask for help whenever we need it.
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The CP Herbalist Team