Life is stressful, but since we cannot get away from parents, school pressures and after-school irritants, work and colleagues or even just life itself, the only way we can deal is by managing stress. A healthy diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep and looking after ourselves generally can help combat stress. An unhealthy lifestyle will soon show on our skin, nails and hair. Here are seven signs of stress and how to deal with them when they take hold:
1. Under-Eye Puffiness is a Classic Sign of Stress Caused by Insufficient Sleep
So many things can cause sleepless nights. Not getting enough beauty sleep can cause fluid to gather below our lower eyelid area, which is why we look puffy in the morning, sporting under-eye bags no one wants to be proud of. It's worse for stomach sleepers, since gravity will pool even more fluid under eyelid areas.
You can prevent puffiness by getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. Switch off your Smartphone, which has a gentle glimmer that simulates sunlight, and turn off anything emitting a glow at least one hour before going to bed. Have a cup of caffeine-free chamomile tea or hot milk to relax you before going to bed. If this doesn't help with puffy eye syndrome, simply pop a spoon into the fridge, then hold the cold back of this spoon up to your under-eye area and massage it, going from the inner to the outer corner of your eye. This will disperse the build-up of fluid and drain the area. Finally, apply concealer in an upside-down triangle under your eyes, which will hide remaining puffiness.
2. Dehydrated, Flaky Skin Occurs Because We’re Not Hydrating Enough or Doing It with the Wrong Fluids
When we're stressed, we often don't drink enough or drink the wrong things, such as coffee or soda, which actually dehydrate our skin, making it look flaky and dry.
Return a youthful blush to your face:
Drinking a lot of water during the day - at least eight glasses - will rehydrate your skin. You can also drink green tea to give you a boost of healthy antioxidants. Foods with a high water content, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, beets and celery, which have up to 90% of water content, are also a good way to rehydrate. In an emergency, you can use a quick-fix solution comprising of hyaluronic acid, stuff that our bodies produce naturally. It holds 1,000 times its weight in water and can pull moisture from the air to hydrate our skin instantly. Before you can say "I’m stressed", your face will have its youthful glow again.
3. Stress Can do a Number on Your Skin in the Form of Acne, Eczema and Psoriasis
A number of skin conditions can be caused by stress. Acne is the most common skin complaint among the young and otherwise beautiful, because stress releases cortisol, which causes havoc among young hormones. These in turn cause zits on faces and bodies. Stress can also be responsible for disrupting the balance between good and bad bacteria in our stomachs. This can result in acne blighting our skin.
Chasing blemishes away:
Deep breathing will calm us down, dispelling anxiety. Inhale deeply to fill your belly, hold this breath for a few seconds, and then breathe out slowly via your mouth. Practicing meditation for 10 minutes a day will also help combat anxiety and stress. Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Vegetables and fruit, high-quality proteins such as grass-fed meats are also essential to maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria. Avoid sugar and fatty foods. In a zit-emergency, use a concealer sold in a tube, which means you'll only touch freshly squeezed product and apply it to your skin.
4. Bacteria Run Riot and Cause Hives and Rashes
Dysbiosis is an imbalance in our guts, which can result in rashes and hives, when we are stressed. Essentially, too many bad bacteria overtake the good.
Breathing exercises calm our skin:
Breathing exercise has a calming effect on our skin, minimizing the risk of rashes or hives during stressful periods in our lives. However, you may need to consult your doctor, if you cannot keep both conditions at bay. Hide a rash or hives by patting a small amount of stick concealer onto the affected area with a clean fingertip
5. Stress Can Make You as Flushed as a Beetroot
We breathe in short, shallow breaths when we are stressed, sometimes even holding our breath for short periods of time without noticing. This can lead to redness and flushing.
Less red, more calm:
We can tone down flushed faces by inhaling a calming beauty concoction made from chamomile and lavender. Thinking happy thoughts also helps to calm us down. Although flushing rarely lasts more than 10 minutes, you can conceal any flare up of pink cheeks by applying an anti-redness foundation.
6. Is Stress Making You Tear Your Hair out?
Stress causes your hair to accelerate its natural cycle, moving from the growing phase to the resting phase to the falling-out phase quicker - meaning thinning hair can be another symptom of stress.
Don't buy a hairpiece just yet:
Thinning hair is a typical reaction to significant and prolonged physiological stress, such as extreme change in diet, sudden lifestyle changes such as changing birth control methods, extreme dieting or an illness. Even breaking up with our boyfriend can lead to hair loss. Thankfully, once we eradicate the stress factor in our lives, our hair will grow back at its usual rate and start to shed in its normal pattern. Talk to your doctor, if you're shedding hair more than usual. As an emergency measure to look good, use a thickening serum or spray, which will make your hair look fuller.
7. Stress Can Also Appear in Your Nails as Deep Groves
While vertical lines are linked mostly to ageing and a lack of vitamin intake, they are harmless. Horizontal grooves and ridges running side to side, however, are called Beau's Lines, and they appear usually when the body is suffering from stress related conditions, which may be quite serious.
Seek medical Advice:
Should horizontal lines appear in your nails, see your doctor as soon as possible. These deep groves can be caused by zinc deficiency, vascular disease or diabetes. Meanwhile, to conceal these lines you can use nail art, which will help to cheer you up while you're waiting for the medical condition to be sorted. Cut down on stress by joining a yoga class or meditating.
It’s too trite to say that the best way to combat the symptoms of stress is to eradicate the stressor(s), but don’t forget that. Avoiding and managing stress is still the best way to be healthy.
How does your body commonly show when you’re stressed?