Stress and your skin
Stress is a natural reaction to life experiences. People encounter stressful situations daily, from working to taking care of their families to sitting in traffic to paying bills. However, when you are overwhelmed with stress, it can take a toll on your body’s systems. Your skin, unfortunately, is no exception.
When your brain senses a threat, it sends a message to your adrenal glands to release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase your heart rate and send blood to your muscles and organs. Stress can be a good thing in some situations because it helps you act quickly or deal with specific problems. On the other hand, when your body fires those hormones regularly, it turns into chronic stress and becomes too much for the body to handle.
When it comes to your skin, stress can show on your face. According to Dr. Steven Shapiro at Gardens Dermatology, lines and wrinkles can form from frowning, tensing your facial muscles, and loss of elasticity due to protein changes. You may develop bad habits like clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, or biting your lips. These habits can alter your appearance. Highly stressed individuals may experience sleep deprivation and develop bags under their eyes. People who have different skin conditions may see an increase in their severity when they are tense.
You’ve probably heard someone say their face is breaking out because they’re stressed. Stress can make you oilier, which could lead to acne breakouts. When the body is consistently releasing cortisol and adrenaline, excessive amounts of sebum can clog your pores leading to acne flare-ups. Stress can also weaken your immune system and cause an imbalance of bacteria growth in your gut. This chain reaction can trigger internal inflammation that can cause outbreaks of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
Have you ever felt hot or sweaty out of nowhere during an uncomfortable situation? When your body senses a threat, the release of adrenaline produces more sweat to keep it cool. This reaction leads to water loss, and if you don’t rehydrate, your skin will dry out. For people with naturally dry skin, chronic stress can make them more prone to other conditions, like rashes.
Stress is a part of life, so what can you do to keep it from taking its toll on your skin? The experts at Gardens Dermatology recommend the following habits:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and warm water at least twice a day and after sweating.
- Moisturize according to your skin type: moisture-free moisturizer or retinol serum for oily skin, antioxidant moisturizer for normal skin, a hydrating moisturizer for dry or aging skin, a lightweight moisturizer for combination skin, and a scent-free moisturizer for sensitive skin.
- Get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you wake up throughout the night, take a 30-minute nap during the day.
- Keep up with your water intake. Avoid drinks that are high in sugar and cause dehydration.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in leafy greens, fruits, and whole grains.
- Exercise at least three to five times a week.
- Make time to do something relaxing, like watching a movie, seeing or talking to your family or friends, and reading.
- If necessary, seek professional help.
For more information on managing the effects of stress your skin, please call Gardens Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center at 561-776-7041 or visit them online at gardensdermatology.com.