lady with acne on her face

How does stress affect the skin?

Blog, Nutrition

How does stress affect the skin?

By Lisa Borg, In House Nutrionist 

Stress is the body’s response to a perceived threat to survival in some way. The best analogy to understand it is to think of being chased by a sabre toothed tiger; all non-essential functions are switched off or down-regulated. The immediate need is for energy to sustain a fight or flight from/with that tiger. Digestion is essentially switched off and the blood flows to the muscles; stored sugar is released to provide the fuel for muscles, and blood flow to the skin is decreased to avoid excess blood loss in the event of injury.

Additionally the response involves hormones, and hormones communicate with each other, prolonged stress would therefore have a significant effect on the skin since Acne is directly affected by the health of the gut, imbalances in the blood glucose regulation system, hormones go out of kilter, nutrients would not be sufficiently supplied to the skin, while toxins would not be adequately removed.  Chronic stress would therefore have a huge negative consequential effect on skin.

Does apple cider vinegar help acne?

ACV is beneficial for digestive health and it does have antibacterial and healing properties, so it can help in addressing Acne. The acid components of ACV (Acetic, Lactic, Citric and Succinic) can inhibit the growth of a strain of bacteria involved in Acne called Propionibacterium. However, one should be cautious in using ACV topically because of the excessive drying effect on skin, and if taking internally it should always be unfiltered and diluted with water (approximate ratio of 1 part ACV to 20 parts water).

And are there other natural remedies and tips to avoiding break outs?

Acne does not have a single cause but is rather the outcome of several imbalances. Addressing gut health, sugar metabolism, and food intolerances while managing stress levels can have a significant impact on the condition. A tiny dot of toothpaste on a large spot overnight is not a bad emergency measure, or a dab of tea tree oil can be fine occasionally too, but both can be very drying and irritant and cause unpleasant skin reactions if used to often. Home-made skin masks can produce results but they are not lasting.

What about light treatments?

At Pulse Light Clinic we use The DermaLux LED therapy to assist in addressing acne because the blue light is effective at reducing the activity of the sebaceous glands which are over-active in the condition producing excess oil which block the pores and attracts dirt and bacteria. The blue light also has antibacterial effects. For those with skin types suitable for Intense Pulse Light Therapy, this can also have a significant impact on Acne and acne scarring.