Skin+Stress

Stress + Acne Go Hand in Hand-Pevonia Blog

Stress and acne go hand in hand as stress and stress-related conditions cause multiple reactions in the body that can trigger acne breakouts. While stress responses were designed to ensure survival, today, stress isn’t always due to negative situations. Does a big pimple the night before a fun event bring any memories?

Having breakouts, in and of itself can cause stress. Acne sufferers may experience embarrassment or frustration over their red bumps and pimples, which unpleasantly affects their self-esteem, sense of well-being and self-worth. This added stress triggers pore cells to become sticky, thick and clogged, which leads to even more severe breakouts. Also, just experiencing the discomfort, itching or soreness of acne can add to stress.

Overall, people with severe acne tend to have higher levels of anger, anxiety and stress.

How Does Stress Trigger Acne?

Regardless of the cause, stress adversely affects the circulatory, endocrine and nervous systems, causing a number of reactions that influence the development of acne symptoms.

Stress activates the fight or flight system and triggers an influx of stress hormones and inflammation. These hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine, testosterone and CRH [corticotropin-releasing hormone]) increase the heart rate and activate the immune system. Even though modern day stressors are rarely life or death, things like eating, growing and reproducing take a back burner making the skin suffer. This influx of hormones and ensuing inflammation increases oil production, weakens and break pore walls, and leads to breakouts.

The main hormones that trigger acne are testosterone and cortisol. Testosterone increases oil production, which creates an environment that the p. acnes bacteria loves. Cortisol causes excess oil production and inflammation, and over time, this steroid hormone (corticosteroid) breaks down proteins, weakens the immune system and becomes an inflammatory response, triggering acne. When combined with stress behaviors like overeating and lack of exercise, this contributes to obesity, all of which are linked with acne. Plus, stress delays wound healing, which is needed to resolve breakouts.

Immune System, Inflammation and Acne

Stress dampens the immune system and elevates inflammation, which then contributes to acne. Inflammation causes a release of inflammatory neuropeptides, which weakens and breaks the pore walls, releasing pus into surrounding tissue and causing more inflammation.

Stress Behaviors and Acne

Stress can lead to destructive behaviors like drinking alcohol, smoking, poor eating habits, inadequate rest and lack of exercise; all which trigger acne. Coincidentally, these behaviors also trigger acne on their own. Stress can also cause additional behaviors like scratching, rubbing or touching the affected areas, which may be subconscious, or a compulsive behavior.

In addition to appearing or mentioning being stressed, one may notice acne patients are fatigued yet hyper, which can affect their work and relationships. This may likely be due to an imbalance in the ph of their blood.

Stress Induced Medical Conditions

Stress can trigger gastrointestinal issues like colitis, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or ulcers, which are also linked with acne. Stress, known to reduce the inability to fight infections, also slows wound healing, making it a direct link to acne flare-ups.

Acne Stress Solutions

To help control acne, identify stressors and when possible, avoid those people, places and situations. Engaging in relaxing activities will slow oil production and balance the blood ph, which in turn help clear existing breakouts and prevent future breakouts.

Great stress-busters include deep breathing; yoga; tai chi; mediation; Qigong, exercise (especially taking a walk outside); journaling, make quality time with family and friends and a good diet. Spa is good for the soul: Schedule a deep pore-cleansing facial and conclude with a relaxing massage. For more ways to cope, see Stress Solutions.

Lastly, instead of hating one’s skin, thank the body for providing a warning (in the form of acne) of the toll stress is causing. Other stress related diseases can be fatal, whereas acne can definitely be controlled.

Photo by Lenetstan

work-out-mode_pevonia

A Clean, Refreshed Face: Without cleaning your skin before a workout, your face is sweating up against a ton of oil, dirt, debris and makeup which can clog your pores. Most of us also tend to wipe sweat with our hand or a towel which doesn’t just clog pores, but also leads to larger pores, collagen breakdown and future breakouts; not good. Pevonia’s Enzymo-Spherides® Peeling Cream not only deeply cleans the skin, but it delivers an instant shot of oxygen and moisture to give your face a more youthful and refreshed look.

Sweat-proof Makeup: It’s okay to wear makeup to the gym; as long as you keep it minimal. Give your lashes length and volume with a formula that won’t run (no matter how hard you do). Find a waterproof formula that will lift your lashes sky-high while conditioning and softening. And, having a polished set of brows can truly make all the difference. Pair a little mascara with groomed eyebrows and you have a recipe for natural beauty.

Post-Workout Smoothie: After working hard at the gym, reward yourself with a concoction that gets your endorphins going, keeps your immune system in check and makes you more beautiful. Including turmeric in your smoothie will fight inflammation and act as a natural remedy for joint pain when using your muscles in a new workout routine, and by adding spinach to your shake you increase your intake of carotenoid compounds. Spinach reduces the risk of ovarian, bladder, liver and lung cancer due to chlorophyllin compounds. One cup of fresh spinach leaves blended into a smoothie provides almost 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K, which prevents osteoclast activation, an activity that breaks down bones.

At the same time, blending spinach into smoothies keeps your heart healthy. Spinach provides Vitamin A and C, antioxidants that reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals in your body. These antioxidants prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized, building up and sticking to your blood vessel walls, thereby decreasing your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Ingredients
2 Cups of Coconut Water
¾ Cup of Pineapples
1 Cup of Organic Baby Spinach
1 Teaspoon of Turmeric Powder
1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds
½ Orange
½ Lemon Juice
Top with Hemp Seeds

Instructions
Blend, and glow!

post-election-stress-disorder-pevonia

Regardless of whom you voted for today, in the 2016 Presidential election, there is one thing we all can agree on. It was stressful! For the past year people have been heated on social media, blocking and un-friending those on “the other side.” Families have been arguing. Spouses have been at odds. Tomorrow, when the election is over, one side will feel the stress associated with the loss. We spoke with Dr. Sanam Hafeez, NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, who shares the signs of Post Election Stress Disorder and what to do about it.

  1. Your stomach is in knots!

According to Dr. Hafeez, stressing out about the future of our country can certainly manifest in physical discomfort. When you ruminate about the worst-case scenario it can lead to stomach tension, nausea and lack of appetite. She advises to take a break from news coverage and discussing the election results. “You want to be informed but YOU want to be in control of the news you are seeking out. Select one media outlet that you want to get your news from. Check in the morning and then focus on what you have to do that day.”

  1. You can’t focus!

Your mind wanders and you keep worrying about the next 4 years of your life. These wandering thoughts lead to a lack of focus. Dr. Hafeez explains that when we are fixated on a thought and are in a state of worry, it is difficult to give full attention to anything else. Her advice, “go for a 30 minute walk, exercise, meditate by lying still focusing on your breath, color in a coloring book or get a ball and have a catch. You want to choose tasks that are repetitive, pleasurable, calming and don’t require a lot of focus.”

  1. You can’t sleep!

You’re tossing and turning and can’t seem to get to that deep level of sleep. “This is a true sign of anxiety and stress,” flags Dr. Hafeez. Sleep is when our bodies turn over cells, fight off illness and are fully relaxed. When stress disturbs sleep for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to a slew of illnesses including, depression and mental illness, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.  “Avoid watching the news before bed as it can evoke worry and negative thoughts. Get into the practice of writing down all the things you appreciated that day so you calm down and drift off on a positive note.”

  1. You’re snippy with everyone!

You feel on edge and angry. Anything can set you off. Your cell phone doesn’t work and you throw it across the room. You’re screaming in traffic. You’re irritable at work and prefer the door to your office closed so you can avoid everyone. Dr. Hafeez explains that it is normal to have a short fuse when stressed. Unfortunately the people we love the most get the fallout from our stress. “Put yourself in a ‘time out.’ Notice what is setting you off and avoid it for a day or two. Book a spa massage, take a long bath, pamper yourself, cash in on some well needed ‘me time.’ Within hours your mood will shift, “offers Dr. Hafeez.

  1. You’re not in the mood for love.

When stressed it’s common for sexual desire to wane. When your mind is on other things the last thing you want to do is get romantic. According to Dr. Hafeez starting off with sensual touch is calming. “Simply being in the bed holding hands breathing for 2 minutes can work wonders. Don’t rule out sex, ease into it. Avoiding sex only adds another thing to be stressed about and sex is a stress reliever. You need those feel good brain chemicals to beat the stress,” she reminds us.

So try not to be bummed out and stressed out if your candidate didn’t nab the presidency. Things could be far worse. YOU could be President of the United States. Now THAT is something to be stressed about.

the-fight-with-overeating-pevonia

Do you ever wonder why it’s so hard to resist overeating at the holidays?

The answer is simple, says Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D., a brain and cognitive scientist specialized in the psychology of eating: Willpower isn’t a dimension of personality, or character, it’s simply a cognitive function available to us in limited doses. In fact, as she points out in her upcoming book, Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free, research shows that “we all have as little as 15 minutes of willpower at our disposal at any given time before it runs dry.  “It’s no surprise then that when there are temptations everywhere, we cave!  This is what Susan calls the “Willpower Gap.”

But there are ways to expand willpower to better manage holiday eating.  The key is to be aware of the Willpower Gap and plan accordingly so you don’t fall into it.

Here are the five key steps she recommends:

Plan ahead. Don’t leave yourself to make decisions in the moment when you’re tired, hungry or overwhelmed by the crowd.  Decide in advance what you will eat each day and when so you won’t be making food choices at times of day when your willpower is depleted.

Eat regular meals. When regular meals become part of the scaffolding of your life, it takes the burden off of willpower.  A schedule of eating three meals a day at regular mealtimes—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—not only helps eating the right things become automatic, but also passing up the wrong things in between.

Reduce stress. Stress and the emotional regulation that go along with it taxes your willpower.  So wherever possible, modify or avoid the things that tap your resources.  Where it can’t be avoided just bringing awareness that an upcoming situation is going to deplete you—such as that dreaded political conversation with your dad’s aunt—can prevent your falling into the Willpower Gap.

Get enough sleep. Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. Sleep is a powerful willpower replenisher.

Practice an attitude of gratitude. Research shows that something as simple as expressing gratitude will replenish willpower.  Gratitude also helps shift the focus from what you want, or crave, to what you have.

Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer