Is stress causing your skin to flare-up? 3 ways to help your skin without spending a cent.

Whatever your circumstances are, this pandemic will be affecting you - and quite probably your skin too.  Read on to learn more about how stress messes with your skin and creates an "inflammatory cascade".

But first - the good news.  Do these 3 things without spending a cent - and your skin will love you for it.

1.  Drink plenty of water.  Staying hydrated is key.  Stress can dry your skin out.

2.  Avoid over heating.  Keep showers or baths warm, not hot.  As winter approaches here, dress up warm but don't wear too many layers.  

3.  Get enough sleep.  Lack of sleep can boost cortisol levels. 

It's a vicious cycle - less sleep = more cortisol = more stress = less sleep.  Sleep experts say having no bright screens 1 hour before bed can help with sleep.

Reducing your anxiety levels can also help.  Exercise, time outdoors, being kind on yourself (including setting realistic goals), meditation, a weekly 'digital detox' are all ways that can help reduce stress and anxiety.

We can also reduce the impact of stress on our skin by watching what we eat and drink.  Eating more greens and fruit, eating less starchy or sugary foods, drinking less caffeine and alcohol, and drinking more water.

How stress messes with your skin

When we're stressed our levels of hormones cortisol and adrenaline skyrocket.  Our digestion in the gut also slows down which affects gut bacteria, creating what's called an 'inflammatory cascade' in our bodies.

Our 'fight or flight' response kicks in when we are under stress and our bodies produce excess adrenaline. That makes us sweat more and can cause dehydration if we aren't replenishing that water.

It also increases the bodies production of cortisol which may increase the skin's oil production making you more prone to breakouts. 

And if you are already susceptible to eczema, rosacea or psoriasis, stress can aggravate that and cause flareups.

As well as the tips above, it's important to avoid common skin irritants (perfumes, harsh chemicals) and use skincare with anti-inflammatory ingredients.