There are a few things that adversely affect your looks like stress. From premature wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone and puffy eyes to dark circles, stress can lead to or aggravate a large number of beauty problems.
“Living under constant stress is like leaving a soft rubber pipe under the sun to dry. Two of the most common skin problems that I see very young people struggling with these days is premature ageing and uneven skin tone. This is often a direct outcome of not being able to manage stress”, says Dr Mohsin Wali, former honorary physician to the president of India. Beauty experts also say that your state of mind has a direct impact on the well-being of your skin. “No matter what you apply on your skin or what you eat, if your state of mind is not healthy and stress free, it will not benefit your skin and hair. While there’s no way one can cut out stress from life, there are ways to lessen its impact through meditation and breathing techniques,” says beauty expert Richa Agarwal.
Here’s how stress impacts your skin and hair and what you can do about it:
Acne: When you are stressed, your body releases a lot of cortisol, which messes up other hormones. This can cause acne. Stress also leads to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. Once the microbial flora of your intestines get altered, acne flares up. Stress also leads to thickening of sebum, which makes acne worse.
Dull, lacklustre, sandpaper-like skin:Stress restricts blood supply to your skin, which results in less supply of oxygen. When the skin is deprived of nourishment, it looks tired and dull, and it loses moisture, softness and luminosity. It stops producing regenerating cells. This could lead to uneven skin tone and pigmentation.
Under-eye circles: If you don’t get enough sleep, fluid collects under your lower eyelid area which makes your eyes look puffy and tired. If you sleep on your stomach, the puffiness increases.
Dry, flaky skin: People often drink less water when stressed. They also end up having endless cups of coffee or tea, while some get addicted to aerated drinks. All of this dehydrates the body, and skin becomes dry and flaky.
Rashes and hives: Stress can also cause rashes and hives (red, raised areas on the skin that suddenly appear ), which can be itchy and very discomforting.
Premature wrinkles: If you are stressed, you purse your lips or crease your forehead. Excess cortisol also leads to high blood pressure, and damage to collagen. Your skin loses its suppleness, and it leads to formation of wrinkles even at a very young age.
Greying and thinning of hair: Stress hinders the growth of the hair follicle and causes it to weaken, leading to hair loss. Stress also decreases the production of melanin. It also increases dandruff as sebum gets collected in the hair roots. Dandruff also leads to scalp acne and hair fall.
Your fix for healthy skin:
1) Avoid constipation. Have fruits that aid digestion. Prunes, bananas and avocado are good for digestion.
2) Cut down your intake of caffeine. Instead of regular tea and coffee, have saffron tea with honey.
3) Include pomegranate, strawberries, grapes, kiwi, mango, avocado and papaya in your daily diet. Also add carrots, almonds, walnuts, black cumin, coconut and chia seeds to your diet.
4) Cover your face with a cotton scarf and your eyes with sunglasses while stepping out.
5) Choose a low cholesterol, low salt and spices diet. Cut out sugar, salt and maida.
6) Use natural face cleansers such as fine besan or multani mitti.
7) Use a toner made of lemon, honey, basil leaves juice and rose water.
8) Make a de-tanning and softening face pack with 6-8 strands of saffron, ½ tsp sandalwood paste and ½ tsp honey. Apply on face and leave for 15-20 minutes. Wash off with cold water.
9) Apply almond oil under your eyes before going to sleep.
10) Massage your scalp with olive oil once a week. Ask your doctor to prescribe a biotin capsule to counter hair fall.
11) Apply a hair pack of fenugreek paste to get rid of dandruff and improve the health of your hair.
12) For acne flare up and pigmentation, consult a dermatologist who can prescribe oral as well as topical medicines.
13) Learn meditation and breathing techniques to manage stress.
14) Olive oil helps get rid of premature wrinkles and fine lines. Apply it all over the face in the night and wash off with warm water in morning.
15) To keep your skin soft and glowy, massage your face with cold pressed coconut oil.
16) A neem, multani mitti and rose water face pack will suit acne prone skin.
17) Have plenty of fluids such as chhach (buttermilk), and fresh vegetable and fruit juices.