Capetown Student Accomodation

The Surprising Effects of Stress on Our Skin

No one is disappointed to be rid of the dreaded high school acne.

But, now that we’re at university, our bad skin is gone and we’re looking fresh-faced and glowing! Oh, but if only it was as simple as that!

While going off to varsity is a whole new adventure, and a great boost for your mind, it can come with some brand new issues. Do not underestimate the effects of stress, a change of lifestyle and sleeping patterns on your skin!

This can mean that your confidence and self-image take a big hit as you adjust to your new routines. But, is there anything you can do about it, or do you just need to wait it out?

The Stress Reaction

Moving away from home, making new friends in a new town, living on your own in student digs… yes, university comes with a new set of stresses. And you will be surprised to learn that these are likely to show up in the form of skin conditions.

  • Cortisol (the stress hormone) leads to an overproduction of oil, causing breakouts
  • Stress can impact your immune system which can make your skin reactive and sensitive
  • Stress can activate existing skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea
  • As a result of being stressed, you may pick at your skin causing spots

Changes in Lifestyle

The lifestyle change associated with being at varsity also contributes to stress on your skin. You will meet new people, stay out later, eat and drink different things to what you used to at home. All of this will start to add up and it may show on your skin. Let’s face it, you’re not likely to get your 5-a-day and two litres of water when you’re feeding yourself, right?

What Can You Do?

There are several things you can do to prevent (or at least help to reduce) the effects of stress on your skin. While we cannot avoid stress completely, there are ways to deal with it.

  • Don’t neglect your skincare routine or start one if you didn’t have one before!
  • Exercise – even if it is a 15-minute walk a day
  • Look into stress management techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga
  • Get enough sleep
  • Set some boundaries for your new social life
  • Chat to a professional – whether it is to manage stress or to manage your skin

Yes, stress can play havoc -not only on our skin – but also on our general wellbeing. A word of advice? Do what you can to manage the impact of stress and anxiety during your exciting varsity years!