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Three Ways Grief Impacts Your Skin: Weeping Your Way to Wellness

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Measuring time has become a bit of a challenge for me. I find when I try to express how long ago something happened, I can’t seem to tell the difference in weeks from months. What I do know is since pandemic times entered, SO MUCH loss and rapid change is leaving us little opportunity to process through one major adjustment and we get hurled right into the next one. I personally experienced the loss of my two most influencial male role models (my Dad and my dear Uncle) within months of each other. Throw on the huge business pivots needed to adapt, watching friends, family and our community struggling, all the while observing the complacent and deeply compromised political and social systems that allow equity issues to throw fellow humans deeper into the margins. My only words?

HOLY F*CK!! I’M NOT OK!!!

The whole experience has given me a crash course in re-learning how to read the signs of grief, the importance of acknowleging it’s MANY faces and how it shows up on our bodies. Connecting all these dots means I can best support myself and all of you lovely humans as we navigate through the rippling effect it brings to our overall well being.

Before I dig in further, I would like you to connect to, or identify with grief by considering a few things.

Firstly, give yourself permission to acknowlege when moments evoke grief in us. Many of us compare our situation to others and decide ours “isn’t as bad” or “could have been worse” and deny ourselves the process we need to move thorough our very real emotions completely and freely.

Secondly, your process time is unique to you. Take the time you need. The waves of it can be calm or torrid.

Thirdly, grief, both old and new, can show up unexpectedly. The evolution of our lives constantly has us saying goodbye to era’s, loved ones, narratives, misguides truths that we held onto, dissolved dreams, even relocating our home. Transitioning through times of loss and big change bring a lot of big feelings. Be kind to yourself as you re-establish your footing.

So How Does This Relate into Skin Health?

It deeply relates to whole body health and the cascading effects can impact our skin just like every other organ of our body. Our body, after all, is connected systems that work together to maintain our vitality. So supporting our body, supports our skin!

There are many health impacts brought on by grief, from sleeplessness to broken heart syndrome (yes! It’s a real thing!). Here’s a few of the most common skin related symptoms that have clients reaching out for solutions:

Inflammation

The studies being done on bereavement and inflammation have really opened up the door to understanding how age, grief severity, prolonged depression can increase inflammatory markers. This can manifest through joint pain, swelling, digestive upset and skin inflammation including flares in eczema, psoriasis, perioral dermatitis and rosacea. The uncomfortable symptoms brought on by inflammation can be supported by some consistant, simple lifestyle practices and condition specific, topical anti-inflammatory products.

Breakouts

Increased stress and anxiety brought on through the grieving process increases cortisol levels in many people. In the case of loss of a loved one this can last for several months. This stress hormone can impact digestion, blood pressure, blood sugars and salts as well as increase sebum production. This perfect storm, especially if added to pre existing skin conditions can lead to breakouts, skin congestion, inflammation and tenderness. This can be managed with small adjustments to skin care routine, patience and lifestyle practices.

Dryness

Skin (cells) require some basics to maintain it’s moisture, a few key ones being, hydration, essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), minerals and sleep. During a time when taking care of ourselves is hard, our appetite and sleep are effected, it’s no wonder our skin can become dry. Getting skin function back on line requires a renewed commitment to full body hydration, nutrition and sleep. Immediate comfort can be achieved with topical support products until healthy skin function returns.

Understanding that grief is a fact of life doesn’t make it easier, nor do you have to just “suck it up”. Having a good support system around you can make a big difference when these times arrive. Our team is always available to help you manage your wellness, hold space and/or connect you to other support professionals. Simply book an “I Just Need Some Love” appointment, it’s free.

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