It was my last semester in college. Coming from a vacation that I felt was wasted doing nothing, I decided to finish strong and score the highest grades possible. Midway through the semester, I got offered a job that was too good to pass over. The cost of making ends meet and finishing my education was going to be higher than I had imagined.
Soon I was sleep-deprived and flooded with deadlines from all sides, a feeling that I fear is all too familiar to many of us today. My most important health-related habits – eating and sleeping properly – took a hit. There simply wasn’t enough time to do it all.
However, it wasn’t my stomach or head that suffered the most during this period – it was my skin. Already of a deathly pale color, patches of my skin, especially on my hands, started to dry up and redden to the point in which dead skin was coming off. A few rashes sprung up on my arms and caused incredible itching.
Studies have shown that stress can seriously weaken the immunity of the skin. My hands especially suffered from the lack of skin care, but not only. I was too busy or exhausted trying to impress my bosses, colleagues and classmates to even remember to use moisturizing cream. The few times I went out, heavy use of foundation and an appropriate choice in terms of clothing successfully hid the state of my health.
The truth was that I couldn’t hide my condition from myself. Episodes of headaches were no match in terms of importance to my decaying skin. Once glowing and firm, my skin was now either too dry or too sensitive. Ointments and creams weren’t very effective, as they merely treated the symptoms.
To fix the problem of stress, I adopted a more relaxed approach to work. Naively, I had tried to treat work as I did college, a place of constant evaluation. However, the realization that the two are very different was rather calming. Even in my personal relationships I realized that I don’t have to do it all and made some time for myself. Some of my old pleasures, like reading a book in the park every other afternoon or watching a silly comedy, were of immense help as well. Adulthood doesn’t have to include more stress and it’s up to you to make a smooth transition into the postgraduate life.
Being so young, I thought that ignoring the problem would eventually solve it. I didn’t stop to take into consideration how frail my immune system had become due to the constant stress I was under. Another major factor that led to the degradation of my skin is the lack of sleep. It has been proven that a sustained reduction in terms of sleep affects the composition of various systems of the body, including immunity. Sleep deprivation also speeds up the aging of our skin.
To sleep more, I turned to exercising. Working out for a few minutes each evening helped me keep my health and convinced my body that it needed sleep. The restless nights filled with worry about the next day soon passed into memory.
You’ve surely heard by now that the human body is mostly water. We lose part of that water through bodily processes such as sweating every day. If the skin is the largest organ of the body, the water that is lost and not recuperated certainly damages it. The most common and immediate symptom is dried up, flaky skin.
Aside from using creams and ointments to keep your skin young and fresh, the simple act of drinking water will go a long way in terms of skin care. Anywhere you go, make sure you have a bottle at hand. But don’t overdo it either, as drinking too much water can also be bad for your health.
As still young people, it’s safe to say that for the better part of our lives, we’ve had others look out for us. With lifestyle recommendations and advice, the adults in our life seemed to have all the answers. However, almost all their wisdom came from undergoing the process of trial and error. Their mistakes taught them valuable lessons, which they then attempted to pass on to us.
Except we didn’t do a whole lot of listening. Eager to live life to the fullest, we covered our ears and carried on our own stubborn path of sleep deprivation, overexertion and junk food. But that’s okay. That’s how we make our own mistakes and learn our own lessons. So go out there and do as many mistakes as you can. As a young person, it’s your prerogative. Just remember to extract a lesson from each mistake and cherish good health above all else. This article was my lesson and hopefully it will serve you well.