I think we can all agree the last two years have been kinda sorta super stressful for everyone.
This chronic stress can led to a slew of symptoms like disrupted sleep, poor concentration, breakouts and feeling burnt out to name a few.
The so-called “burn out” you’re feeling could actually be adrenal fatigue. And it directly relates to acne.
Before we dive into the connection between adrenal fatigue and acne, you need to understand how adrenal fatigue works.
The adrenal glands are two small glands located on top of the kidneys. Their secretions regulate blood pressure, electrolyte balance and metabolism. When you’re exposed to stressors, the adrenal glands also release stress-response hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol, aldosterone and testosterone.
Short-term stress can be beneficial as it stimulates immune activity and supports nerve and cell growth in the brain to counteract depression.
However, long-term stress is not your best friend. Chronic stress results in the adrenals overproducing stress hormones, which eventually exhausts those glands. That’s when the fatigue, acne, weight gain, weakened immune system, food cravings and many other symptoms start to kick in.
Chronically elevated stress levels and the overproduction of stress hormones prompt your sebaceous glands to make excess sebum (oil). This leads to clogged pores because the oil is stuck inside of them. Then, bacteria grow in these pores. This sparks an immune response because the bacteria are viewed as foreign invaders. Ultimately, this results in swelling, redness and acne.
Stress also increases blood flow and expands your blood vessels, making your skin look more inflamed.
While we can’t avoid it completely, we can learn how to invoke relaxation and reduce stress with a few strategies. Many stress reduction techniques and practices can be done for free at home. Here are a few to get you started:
When you focus on your breath, you disengage from stressors and thoughts. Try this simple breathing practice:
After deep breathing, start at the top or bottom of your body and focus on a single muscle group (i.e. your right calf). While focusing on that muscle, mentally release any tension being held there. Move to the next muscle until you’ve completed the entire body.
Meditation is simply the process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety while promoting positivity.
Practicing gratitude allows you to notice how many things you have to be thankful for in your life. It’s easy to take things in our life for granted. Each day write down three to ten things you are grateful for and why. Ideally, your list changes every day.
The practice of yoga allows you to sync your breath with movement. It distracts you from thought and increases the release of the happy hormones (endorphins and serotonin). Take a class at a studio or check out many of the free yoga channels on YouTube.
Outside of stress reduction, a huge component to adrenal fatigue recovery is what you eat and when. First up, you’ll want to be aware of both the foods to avoid and include. Then you’ll want to make sure that you’re not skipping meals and have breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up. This is essential for ensuring stable blood sugar levels and not spiking your stress hormone, cortisol.
Focus on an anti-inflammatory diet with an abundance of these foods: