The modern world makes it difficult for us to avoid stressful situations, be it at work or at home, even at leisure. Stress can manifest itself in many forms physically and mentally. While we can clearly see how stress affects our mood and emotions, such as feeling angry or easily agitated, it can take a toll on us physically too. Most of the time, we develop subconscious small habits like literally pulling our hair out, or binge-eating to help overcome stressful moments. But did you know that the first signs of stress usually show on our skin and our hair? It can start subtly as hair loss and could even further develop into acne outbreaks. Let’s take a look at a few signs that stress is affecting our skin and hair.
Sunburns & Easy-scarring
Our skin is largely exposed to the sun when we are outdoors. While the skin already has the natural ability to protect itself from harmful UV rays, it also needs to be at its best to do so. In normal situations, the body sends more blood cells to areas where the skin is exposed to UV rays, in order to constantly repair it. This helps to keep our skin free of sunburns or keeps our skin from getting sun spots.
When we are stressed out, our body automatically focuses on sending cells to our internal organs in order to protect them, leaving the skin as the last priority. Therefore, when we head outdoors, our skin is more susceptible to UV ray damage. This causes reddish skin, dark spots and in excessive exposure stress, sunburns.
If you’re having a rough week at work, consider applying emollients or sunscreen to protect your skin against these UV rays.
Inflamed & Irritated Skin
Stress causes a shift in our hormones. One of these hormones, known as cortisol, is triggered during fight or flight situations. With the rush of adrenaline and cortisol during stressful moments, it gives our body that needed push to “fight” or at least get through our work deadline. When cortisol levels are increased due to stress, the side effect is inflammation throughout the body.
Inflammation in the skin can manifest itself as skin outbreaks or skin flares. Most common skin flares would be a sudden hives attack or eczema flares. Those with psoriasis would find that the skin gets drier or flakes more than usual. Our response to this is a skin double-edged sword. We naturally respond to these inflammation physically by scratching our skin, which only further stresses our skin and spreads bacterial infection.
If stress is not avoidable, applying anti-inflammatories such as Tea Tree, helps to “cool down” these inflammations. The Healing Tea Tree Oil if formulated with both Virgin Coconut Oil to moisturise the affected skin and keeping the skin integrity together, while the Tea Tree content holds strong anti-inflammatory properties. Dry skin? Try the Luscious Body Cream in Tea Tree instead for all day moisturisation.
Increased Oil Secretion & Acne
Stress messes with our mental clarity, as it messes with our nerve signals. Our skin nerve signals are not spared in this situation. Accurate nerve signals in the skin are needed to regulate hormone production. Unregulated hormones can cause an acne or pimple outbreak, which is also a common side effect during a woman’s cycle.
When our hormone production is altered, this affects how our skin produces sebum. In most cases, our skin begins to produce more sebum than it naturally does to protect our skin from drying out and to prevent it from being further damaged. While sebum is needed, excess sebum can easily be a cause of acne. When dead skin cells trap our pores, the concoction of excess sebum and bacteria causes the pore to swell up and turn into a red bump or fill up with pus if further inflamed.
Prevent this bacterial build up and prevent the appearance of red bumps by applying the Healing Tea Tree Oil. The Virgin Coconut Oil in Healing Tea Tree Oil has strong anti-bacterial properties to prevent further infection of the surrounding skin which is great to keep acne outbreaks small and gone before you know it.
Itchy Scalp & Hair Loss
Yes, we tend to start scratching our heads and pulling our hair out when we’re stressed out. But, we begin having an itchy scalp and experiencing hair loss long before we resort to that. As with all fight or flight situations, our bodies centralise its focus to important organs. So our hair, being one of the extremities, is often left out. Less nutrients reach this area and this causes the skin in this area to be “malnourished”.
An effect of this is that skin often dries out, and dry skin on our scalp leads to an itch. Besides the constant scratching, this takes a toll on our hair roots too. When less nutrients reach the bed of hair roots, the grip is loosened, much like how plant roots are not strongly held when the soil is weak.
Consider using a scalp treatment such as Cooling Scalp Treatment Oil to protect and strengthen hair roots and scalp. It is formulated with peppermint oil to provide anti-septic properties to weakened scalp and extra vitamins such as Vitamin E to promote growth of new hair roots. Worried about brittle hair breaking? Try the Hair Treatment Oil to not only smoothen brittle hair, but lock in essential moisture in keratin to prevent hair breakage.
Slow Healing of Wounds
When your body is in a healthy state, physically and mentally, your skin remains healthy too. Stress directly weakens your epidermis. A weakened epidermis is more susceptible to the risk of skin infections. Less vital cells reach the skin to fight off infections.
This slows down your skin’s natural ability to heal wounds, scars and acne. When you get an insect bite, or a cut when you’re stressed out, it would take longer for it to scab or heal. Furthermore, the increased risk of spreading the infection on skin would make these affected areas larger than usual.
During these times, it is important to not only eat the right nutrients to fortify your body internally to heal wounds, but it is equally important to feed your skin with the right nutrients too. Feeding your skin with active ingredients such as Virgin Coconut Oil helps to speed up the recovery process. The Aromatic Body Oil is great all-day moisturiser that uses Virgin Coconut Oil and a refreshing blend of essential oils, making it great nutrition for your skin.
Formation of Fine Lines & Wrinkles
The longer you leave a cut apple out in the air, the faster it begins to oxidise and turn brown. This is no different from our skin. The more stressed you are, the more damaged your skin gets due to oxidation. Excess oxidation of skin cells causes our skin to lose its integrity. Furthermore, when we are stressed out, vital nutrients tend to be distributed less to the skin in order to protect internal organs to continue functioning.
This weakens the skin structure and causes reduction in skin firmness, resulting in less elastic skin and the formation of facial lines and wrinkles. As cells begin to oxidise, the skin loses its uniformed structure and this causes microdents, what we see as fine lines and wrinkles. Dead cells in skin also tend to darken due to the combination of sun exposure and stress, causing age spots.
Whether you are stressed or relaxed, consider feeding your skin with strong nutrients such as Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps the skin to increase collagen production to maintain supple skin and gives the skin the ability to fight these oxidative stresses causing wrinkles and dark spots. Try the Trienol Super Vitamin E Face Serum to prevent the signs of stress and aging, and the Trienol Super E Face Cream if you have dry skin.
Don’t stress over signs of stress showing on your skin and hair by giving your skin and hair the necessary nutrients early on. We can’t control the timing of stressful situations, but we can definitely start feeding our skin and hair the nutrients needed to get over them when they happen. Plus a good skincare and haircare regime not only gives you that healthy glow or protects your crowning glory, caring for yourself is also great in reducing stress. Always say yes to some self-care!
Checkout out COCOLAB's 100% natural skincare and haircare ranges for some well-deserved destress sessions while giving your skin and hair all the care it deserves too!