Mental health affects our skin health and when I give a skin consultation to someone with acne or rosacea – I now always ask the question ‘Do you suffer from stress’. Your skin is the body’s largest organ and so it shouldn’t surprise us that it can be affected by poor mental health. I receive hundreds of emails a week from people who have skin problems and almost 90% of them are from people who are suffering from stress. That is the reason why I take the time to answer the emails and hopefully get to the root of the problem. Maybe if I can get through to them about reducing stress, eating nutritionally and having a good skincare routine – then healthy skin will start to show again.
Acne is now linked with depression and anyone who’s ever had a skin problem knows that it’s more than skin deep. Serious skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne can have both mental and emotional effects.
We all are aware that mental health affects every aspect of our day to day lives, from your personal relationships to your work but stress could be the culprit that is giving you those stubborn spots or the dry patches on your skin. So if you came to me with skin problems like acne, rosacea, psoriasis or premature ageing, I would be asking a number of questions to ascertain if stress or depression is the main reason for your skin issues.
Our skin is protective wrapper that defends us against injury, environmental factors like the weather and air pollution. However, we have immune and nervous systems that are easily triggered by our mental health. Remember the last time you blushed from embarrassment or anxiety, then you understand how our skin can reflect how we are feeling.
When we are stressed our body releases the hormone cortisol to help us deal with stress. However, if you are stressed much of the time, cortisol can trigger excess oil production and cause havoc on your skin, causing congestion, blackheads and acne. Cortisol is known as the ‘stress hormone as it kicks in when our fight or flight response is triggered – which is caused by stress and anxiety. The problem occurs if you are constantly stressed or anxious, then high levels of cortisol can prevent you from having a good night’s sleep and it will keep you feeling wired a lot of the time.
So what can you do…..You have to figure out the things you can do to calm yourself whether that be a regular yoga class, meditation or join a mindfulness group. Or maybe it’s …get a new job!!