You’ve had a bad week – or maybe a bad month. You’ve been working overtime, your child is going through a difficult phase, your boyfriend’s eyes have started wandering, your boss seems to hate you, and you have insomnia. In other words, nothing in your life is going smoothly and you are feeling more stressed than ever. Chances are a few obvious pimples have sprung up since your life got so hectic. How do I know that? What do you think my face does when I’m feeling frazzled?
The reason for a spotty complexion is simple: When the body is under stress, it releases adrenal hormones, which are known generally as “stress hormones.” These hormones generate a number of changes in skin, including breakouts, oily patches, dry patches sallowness, dark circles under the eyes, and rashes. Obviously, you can’t avoid all forms of stress, but you can learn how to deal with them. Deep breathing, visualization, a professional or at-home massage, or even a spa-night at home can help relieve some of the tension.
Exercise boosts circulation, which in turn delivers oxygen-rich blood to the skin’s surface. The short-term result is a beautiful glow. According to some skin-care experts, the long-term benefit of exercise is improved skin elasticity and more efftcient new cell growth.
As resilient as skin is, it also has a delicate side. Aggressive handling can make skin appear worn, abused, and just plain old. What qualifies as rough treatment? Picking pimples, which can cause scars; using overly hot water, which can break small capillaries and make skin dry; tugging at skin, which can break down collagen and elastin fibers and lead to slackness; and using harsh skin-care products, which can cause sensitivities and redness.
Skin and your diet
Severe diets that skimp on calories and on one or more nutrients are detrimental to your skin, and so are eating habits that include plenty of complexion-spoiling fast food. Here’s a rundown of common nutrient deficiencies and how they affect your complexion:
A lack of protein can lead to a dull, dry complexion and poor wound-healing.
A shortage of iron can result in a pale complexion.
A lack of vitamin A can produce dry skin or unexplained breakouts.
A deficiency in vitamin B Complex can result in cracks at the corners of the mouth, unexplained breakouts, impaired wound-healing, and pallor.
A lack of vitamin C can cause poor wound-healing, dullness, and easy bruising.
A shortage of vitamin E can lead to poor wound-healing and dry skin.
A lack of vitamin K can result in weak, broken, or distended facial capillaries.