Ironically the holiday season, which is one of the most joyful times of the year, can also be one of the most stressful. Whether from the pressure of getting together with family you haven’t seen in a long time, finalizing projects at work, or juggling an even tighter than usual schedule, stress levels may have been mounting over these past few weeks. And even with the best of intentions to try to “keep it all together,” your body is telling you to slow down and take a deep breath. Also no matter how much you try to appear cool and collected, your skin may be giving away the anxiety you feel.
Stress definitely can play havoc with your skin. Stress causes your body to produce cortisol and other hormones, which in turn cause sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin conditions. (Skin oil called sebum alone does not cause acne. However, when sebum mixes with dead skin cells, pores can become clogged forming a plug. Bacteria in the plug may build up, resulting in an infection and swelling, which can lead to the development of a blemish.)
The production of cortisol also may result in dry skin. That’s because cortisol decreases the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid, which is a natural moisturizer. And cortisol can produce skin wrinkling, too. The release of cortisol increases blood sugar levels, resulting in glycation. This is a process that actually hardens collagen, which is responsible for the skin’s elasticity, increasing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
The dull appearance of your skin at times can be attributed to stress, as well. When you are stressed, your body produces adrenalin, which in turn decreases the blood flow to the surface of the skin so there is not enough oxygen reaching your skin. The affect is a dull complexion.
Keep stress levels low
Here are some things to do to keep stress levels low during the holidays or any time of the year to feel and look better
- Just say no: It’s perfectly okay to say no to those extra activities that will just add more stress to your schedule.
- Step back and take a view: Set priorities for activities at work and at home. When you are in the midst of things, every activity may seem urgent. By taking a good look at the situation, you can decide where to spend your most energy.
- Practice easy meditation: If possible, find a quiet place and take a few minutes to breathe slowly and deeply. Even that can help you regain center and face the challenges of the day.
- Be good to yourself: Take time to sit back with a cup of coffee or tea, take a short walk to clear your mind or have a massage. Whatever makes you feel refreshed and renewed should be a priority.
- Give to others: Giving back helps to lift your spirits and can relieve some of the tension you may be feeling.
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