Stress-relieving Rituals can CAUSE STRESS to your SKIN
Writer: Tin Palattao and Illustration: Celine Cruz
Handled the wrong way, stress can actually lead to more stress. The trick is not to let stress get under your skin.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be woken up by the warm morning sun kissing us gently on the cheek or by the chirping birds pulling us harmoniously from an eight-hour slumber?
We would get up and stretch our limbs, go to the window and let the fresh air in as strands of our silky ebony hair are blown by the chilly morning breeze. With our eyes closed, we breathe in the smell of dew nestling on the green grass and leaves and turn our pinkish plump lips into a sweet smile. Finally, we would open our eyes, breathe out feeling renewed, and have time to gaze at the blue skies and even hum a song. Yes, that would be nice. But that’s Snow White. She lives in an enchanted forest, doesn’t have to go to work, doesn’t have a boyfriend and has seven dwarfs doting on her. She also has perfect skin.
Our mornings actually go like this: We wake up by the scandalous ringing of our alarm clocks set at least four snoozes ago. By the time we get up or realize that we have to, we frantically check our cellphones for work-related messages or replies from our beaus about last night’s LQ. Then we scramble to get ready for work while simultaneously preparing for breakfast for our housemates or children. It’s barely morning, we haven’t even eaten breakfast yet stress is already eating us up. And we’re not even talking about the traffic jams yet.
Unlike Snow White, we live in a polluted, urban jungle, work furiously from 8-5, handle simultaneous, complicated relationships and often have to do things on our own. All that stress shows in our skin.
A new scientific field called psychodermatology specializes in understanding the connection between our skin and our mental state. Here, where dermatology meets psychiatry, doctors have discovered that emotional stress plays a huge role in acquiring, developing, and even worsening skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. In effect, our reactions to stress contribute largely to either the development or regression of these skin ailments.
Handling stress the wrong way
When our body is under emotional stress, our skin become oily as a chemical response, which lead to more breakouts. We also get dehydrated skin, which makes us develop reactions like scratching and nail biting.
To resolve stress, we often succumb to stress eating or binge drinking while warming up the couches during a movie/TV series marathon, which of course result in more pounds or unbalanced levels of blood sugar. Our bodies compensate by producing more insulin that can overproduce skin cells that will likely clog our pores, causing acnes, blemishes and the like.
In order to stay awake and alert at work, we load up on coffee, tea, soft drinks or other caffeine-laced beverages, which can also cause more breakouts due to in-somnia, anxiety, and restlessness. Not to mention other health problems that may occur if these activities are not controlled.
A proactive lifestyle
So better check your stress-relieving rituals again and consider cutting down on your caffeine and sugar intake. Get enough sleep. Invest time in exercise and engage in a more proactive lifestyle. Try out meditation and yoga that not only reduce stress but also help us achieve serenity and optimism.
We may not live in a forest and sing in duet with the chirping birds but with exercise, a healthy diet and a good night’s sleep we can have fairy tale-like mornings and glowing skin like that of Snow White’s.