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How Do Skin Suffer When You Are Stressed?

13 May 2023 9 mins read

Every person experiences stress several times in the entire lifetime. When it becomes chronic this will leave severe consequences on the health like depression, weak immune system and risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, we discussed about other affects of stress on body in our previous blog.

Apart from internal health, stress badly affects the skin and face. Acne, wrinkles and dry skin are some ways it can leave its impact. Surely, your skin, face and hair are going to age prematurely if you have stress and depression. Here, we have discussed about effects on skin from stress and how to deal with it effectively. Also you can know about correct techniques of stress management. 

How stress affects the skin

Stress results in chemical response which in turn makes the skin highly reactive and sensitive. At that time, skin problem doesn’t heal up easily. If you get acne, stress will make a breakout. This is so; because stress promotes the secretion of cortisol hormone that directs the skin glands to secrete more oil and sebum. Hence, your skin becomes vulnerable to several skin problems including acne.

Can stress lead to eczema?

Eczema can easily flare up due to excessive stress. Itching is the most common habit of the people with stress. Such vigorous scratching will worsen down the existing patches. Sometimes, this condition itself called as itch-scratch cycle. It is said that stress impacts the sensory nerves which in turn will affect the immune and inflammatory responses of the body. Hence, stress can easily trigger eczema and makes itch-scratch cycle irregular. . 

Can stress lead to acne?

Stress cannot lead to acne but if you are vulnerable to acne then anxiety can flare it up. Stress makes an upsurge of cortisol amount which is responsible for increasing the testosterone amount in body. This hormone is the key reason behind the blocks in sebaceous glands. So, it is natural to get a spot.

Can stress lead to psoriasis?

Similar to eczema and acne, stress results in flaring up of the psoriasis. Stress enables the body to secrete chemicals that will promote the response of body to inflammation. So, psoriasis can flare up in the identical way.

Can stress lead to rosacea?

There is enough evidence that stress flares up rosacea. In fact most people with rosacea experience worsening of the symptoms because of emotional breakdown. During stress, the face starts flushing or becomes clammy and hot.

What stress does to you?

Chronic stress becomes prominent in the face. Not only, it starts premature biological aging but you will also start experiencing sudden negative impacts on the skin. Moreover, physiological change from stress badly affects the skin. Moreover, stress can lead to several bad habits like lips biting and teeth grinding.

What stress does to you

Check here how specifically stress affects the face:

  • Acne

When a person is stressed out, the body secretes more cortisol hormone. It enables the brain part, hypothalamus to secrete hormone called CRH (corticotrophin-releasing hormone). CRH is solely responsible for oil stimulation from sebaceous glands around hair follicles. Remember extra secretion will clog the pores resulting in acne breakout.

Although everyone thinks that stress leads to acne there is not enough support to this context. When a study tries to find out the triggering factor of acne menstruation, drinking alcohol, sleep deprivation and stress come out as major one.

  • Bags under the eyes

Baggy eyes often accompany by puffiness and swelling under the eyelids. This is a common sign of aging as the supportive muscles around the eyes become weak. Sagging skin because of elasticity loss leads to baggy eyes too.

Sometimes, you develop stress from sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, it leads to premature biological aging of the skin and you will start getting several signs like uneven pigmentation, less elasticity and fine lines. Due to loss of skin elasticity bags under the eyes are more likely to develop early.

  • Dry skin

The outermost layer of skin is stratum corneum and it is full of lipids and proteins. These are essential to retain the moisture and hydration of the skin. It serves as barrier for protecting the skin beneath from foreign and harmful external substances. If stratum corneum cannot work properly then the skin becomes itchy and dry. 

Stress can completely impair the ability of stratum corneum to function. So it will impact the retention ability of skin water too. Even it can slow down the self-healing ability of the skin.  

  • Rashes

Stress can badly affect the immune system lowering it down dramatically. Weak immune system causes bacterial imbalance in the skin and gut referring to the condition called dysbiosis. With the imbalance on the skin you can experience skin redness and rash. Stress is popular for aggravating certain conditions which lead to inflamed skin like contact dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.

  • Wrinkles

Stress changes the skin protein lowering its elasticity. As a result, you will start getting wrinkles and fine lines. Stress causes repetitive brow furrows which can become wrinkles with time. 

  • Hair loss and gray hair

Stress can make the hair gray. When you are stressed the melanocytes cells secrete a pigment namely melanin which retains the natural colour of the hair. Stress results in sympathetic nervous activity that makes melanocytes disappear.

After that, the cells become gray because of losing its natural colour. The growing cycle of the hair also disrupts from chronic stress leading to the condition known as telogen effluvium. You are more likely to experience maximum hair fall at that time.

Other effects of stress on the face

Other ways by which stress affects the face are in the following:

  • Tooth damage- Several people are familiar to teeth grinding during anxiety or stressful events. With time it leads to permanent damage to teeth.
  • TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction)- TMD is the collection of health issues affecting the joints of the face. But it happens because of repeated teeth clenching.
  • Face flushing- Stress makes you change the breathing habits. As a result, your face can flush temporarily.
  • Sore lips- Many people chew the lips or inside of mouth at the time of stress.

Other skin conditions occurred by stress

Stress results in short-term skin reaction. When you are highly stressed then you will start feeling hot and uncomfortable. Sometimes, it is likely to develop raised, red itchy rash called hives.

Moreover, stress acts as a trigger for several kinds of hair loss like alopecia areata or telogan effluvium. Small evidence is notable that stressful events lead to vitiligo too in which pale patches will develop on your skin.

How to cope with stress-related skin conditions

Basically, there is no way to resist the stress from affecting the skin and other body parts. However, you can deal the stress better to manage the symptoms of the skin condition.

Here’s how you can cope with the stress

When it comes to stress there are two ways for dealing with it:

  • Emotional resilience development
  • External pressures management

If possible, look for the external pressures and control them. When there is tough thing at work you need to discuss about it with the manager so that the workload can be halved. If there is any financial problem then talk to your financial advisor.

On the other hand, emotional resilience development comprises of making time for one and stays positive. You must understand and clear about the needs as well. Remember, stress management can involve counselling, therapy and stress-relieving techniques.

How to deal with stress

Here are some proven ways to deal with stress:

  • Perform relaxing activities- Make time for the activities so that you will feel relaxed and alleviate the stress at the time of busy schedule.
  • Maintain proper lifestyle- Taking proper sleep and eating a healthy and balanced diet will enable you to manage the stress properly.
  • Stay active- Regular workout and exercise will alleviate the stress hormone and give you much-needed relief.
  • Communicate with others- In this time, you need to talk your heart out to anybody you are comfortable with- family members, friends and mental health expert. They can incorporate you to tackle your stress level effectively.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs- Continuous intake of alcohol and drugs result in additional issue and heighten the stress.

How to take care of skin when you are stressed

fast recovery with right nutrition

While you are stressed out skin care becomes more important. Often people avoid doing it at that time. You can make these approaches to keep the skin healthy and glowing: 

  • Don’t skip your daily skincare routine even if you feel tired and stressed
  • Practise regular exercise for improving overall health including skin
  • Do something what you love and enjoy even if it is for 5-10 minutes like reading or swimming
  • Go for a stroll
  • Adapt stress management techniques like visual imagery, meditation, yoga and breathing exercises
  • Take proper sleep approx 7-8 hours at night everyday
  • Sometimes learn to say no for creating a limitation to alleviate the stress
  • Talk to your closed friends or anybody you are feeling comfortable with. If needed seek support from professional therapist or a friend

Manage the symptoms you experience

Skin condition management is not limited to physical symptoms treatment only. It is also about looking for the ways to deal with the issue emotionally. Several conditions such as vitiligo, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and acne result in emotional stress that will worsen down the symptoms you are experiencing.

  • Visit a general physician to discuss about the symptoms you are experiencing in case these are leading to emotional distress. They will either refer you to a specialist or provide some effective prescription treatment.
  • Be ready to try some different treatments as a few can work for the skin
  • Interact with the family and friends to tell what are you feeling
  • Look for a community to interact and live with the skin conditions you have
  • Stop unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking alcohol. Include regular exercise in your routine and have healthy and balanced diet always

Seek help with your stress-related skin condition from a skin specialist

If things worsen down with time and you are not able to manage them then it is important to visit a skin specialist or dermatologist. Remember, they have the experience to understand the root cause of the problem and treat accordingly. In the meantime, you must consult with a psychiatrist to know the tricks for proper stress management.