Stress Awareness Month

April marks Stress Awareness Month; a chance for us to help increase public awareness about the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic. The results of a poll undertaken by YouGov revealed that in 2018, 74% of people felt so stressed they have felt overwhelmed and unable to cope.[1] The effect stress can have on a skin condition can become a vicious cycle; a skin condition can result in somebody feeling stressed which in turn can make their skin condition worse.[2] But how can you break the cycle to help keep your skin condition under control?

To define stress in a medical context, it is when a mental, emotional or physical factor causes bodily or mental tension.[3] This could be as a result of stress in the workplace, family issues, personal problems such as financial difficulties or a medical problem - such as a skin condition. Stress hormones can aggravate skin conditions, especially if a person feels agitated and starts to scratch their skin - this can result in further itching and further skin damage.[4]

If you are feeling stressed, it’s important to take steps to help combat this. Start by understanding what is causing you to feel this way. If you feel that your skin condition may be causing unhealthy levels of stress, talk to your doctor about your skin condition and how it is causing you to feel. You can then think about ways to reduce stress which, in turn, could help your skin condition to improve.[5]

This could include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Getting more sleep
  • Eating more healthily
  • Talking to a close friend/family member

If you’re worried about a loved one, there are lots of things you can do to try and help. You might not be able to take their stress away, but offering your support - even if it’s just a chat over a cup of tea - will help. 

If you need further support with your emotional wellbeing, mental health charity MIND can help you find the support you need. Visit www.mind.org.uk, call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or send a text to 86463.

For further advice, visit our blog page http://www.qvskincare.co.uk/blogs/. Alternatively, you can follow our social media channels @QVSkincareUK.

[1] Mental Health Foundation, Mental health statistics: Stress (Internet) 2019 (cited 2019 (April 2) Available from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-stress

[2] Chen Y and Lyga J. Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets 2014; 13(3): 177 – 190.

[3] Medicine Net, Medical Definition of Stress (Internet) 2019 (cited 2019 March 21) Available from: https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=20104

[4] US National Library of Medicine, Psychosomatic factors in pruritus (Internet) 2013 (cited 2019 April 10) Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3690364/

[5] Better Health, Stress (Internet) 2019 (cited April 10) Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/stress