"Your face is really stressed!" Our blog colleague Maike was confronted with this worried greeting at her beautician. Not necessarily the sentence you want to hear during your lunch break. Especially not if you actually feel completely recovered and just want to treat yourself to a quick care treatment. But Maike wasn't offended - she was interested. She'd fought crow's feet, dealt with dry skin, and sent home blackheads (get her sense of humor?). "Explain to me what exactly a stress face is supposed to be.” Maike wrote down this story for us:
When life is constantly overwhelming
"That sounds a lot worse than it's meant to be," says Agyness (yes, that's my beautician's real name) in a bell-like voice. And immediately makes it clear that of course this has nothing to do with the face of a dog. Owners of four-legged friends who love to bark will have known the expression for a long time. "But the principle is the same: if you're not feeling well - maybe for a long time - it shows on your face.” In humans, this means that when life overwhelms us, pimples, wrinkles or redness are a normal consequence. I'm still thinking that I don't really want to complain when I hear "don't worry about it now. You'll be beaming when we're done here. That's the important thing.” And indeed I feel better after 45 minutes – but I can't get the stressed face mentioned by Agyness out of my head. I want to know more.
When the skin runs out of oxygen
Back in the office, I get to work and quickly realize that the topic is relevant - because it's a sign of the times. Very few of us are lucky and satisfied with the subscription; most carry small and large loads with them. Relationship problems, health concerns, too much work or pressure to perform, debt, noise, poor sleep. The basic rule is … all of this is reflected in our faces. The reason is easy to name: when we are in a crisis situation, the body switches to escape or defense mode. As a consequence, the blood and oxygen supply is partially diverted. Some areas will then get more, many less. The skin is particularly badly affected - the largest organ in our body. In the short term, we only notice that we are often cooler. In the longer term, at some point, the … exactly … stress face looks back at us in the mirror. Due to the deficiency, free radicals and damaging oxidants can cause visible damage to tissue.
Itching and red areas as warning signs
But let's start at the beginning: There are short-term problems. A sleepless night, for example. It already makes the skin appear gray and pale. The first signs of dandruff may appear because the lack of a resting phase has also affected the body's own moisture supply. That's a little cry for help. On the other hand, the so-called “hectic spots” – i.e. red areas on the face or neck are harmless. They usually only last for a short time - when the stress has subsided, they disappear again. However, if a brief high stress level turns into a long-term stress, then impurities soon form. The skin begins to itch, red areas no longer disappear. These are warning signals that should no longer be ignored.
Stress hormones weaken the skin barrier
The next escalation level already has serious consequences: If nothing changes in the living situation, the situation often worsens. Rashes, inflammation, neurodermatitis or hives - all of this is possible when the inner balance can no longer be restored and the body's defenses are exhausted. Adrenaline and cortisol, the evolutionary hormone responses to danger, flood the blood and stay at peak levels. The natural barrier function of the skin is weakened by these hormones - the perfect breeding ground for tissue diseases is created. In addition, the renewal of the cells is slowed down. The regeneration of the skin comes to a halt. I think it's slowly becoming clear what is meant by a stress face.
The fear of social rejection
But I go one step further. There is also an interaction. The inner imbalance, which shows its expression on the skin, is fueled by the visible problems. Who wants to show a disturbed tissue in public. Then shame often sets in and with it the worry of social rejection. This pressure - which is probably clear to everyone - will in turn increase the stress and thus make the chance of a quick healing impossible. A vicious circle. Incidentally, one who has been employing psychologists more and more recently. According to current statistics, every fifth visit to a therapist is due to skin diseases.
Just shift down a gear
While I've been writing about skin care for many years and would say I've learned a lot in that time, it's clear from this article alone that the topic of "stressed face" is new to me. At least in the end. It was clear to me that one should shift down a gear, that the skin is the mirror of the soul. But how serious the effects of modern lifestyle with all its impositions is... phew... that made me think. Of course, creams, masks and serums help. But they only deal with the effects. But they don't cure the cause.