Can Holiday Stress Really Change My Skin?

Woman scratching skin from holiday stress Can Holiday Stress Really Change My Skin?

When it comes to the holidays, it's usually a time reserved for joy and togetherness. But planning all of that togetherness can sometimes take a serious toll on your stress levels. But can stress change your skin? Here's what you need to know as we approach the holidays.

What Stress Can Do to Your Skin

Acne

Stress is one of the biggest contributors to adult acne. This is largely a result of high levels of cortisol in your body. When you're stressed out, your body creates more cortisol than normal. Cortisol causes the hypothalamus to produce a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which can stimulate sebaceous glands and trigger oil release. As a result, your pores may become clogged with the excess oil and lead to acne flare ups if you're not careful. Fortunately, most acne treatments are designed to help control oil production and keep pores clear. That said, the best way to rid yourself of stress-related acne is to distance yourself from whatever is causing extreme stress in your life. If you can identify stressors in your life and learn to avoid them or better cope with them, you may see fewer stress-related acne flare ups.

Under-Eye Bags

Bags underneath the eyes might be most commonly associated with seasonal allergies, but the reality is that stress can play a major part in their development. Puffiness and swelling around the eyes is a common symptom of stress as a result of a lack of quality sleep. If you're stressed and struggling to get a solid seven to nine hours of sleep each night, your body is going to start showing physical symptoms of that. This includes your skin! The best way to rid yourself of under-eye bags is to identify your stressors and avoid them if possible. It's also important to prioritize getting enough sleep, especially when you're stressed. If you're not sure what's keeping you from sleep, don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor for help.

Skin Rashes

Stress is an incredibly common trigger for skin rashes. In fact, stress hives are one of the most common skin rashes that can develop as a result of, well, stress. When you're feeling stressed out, your immune system can suffer. If it's not functioning as well as it normally does, you might experience a bacterial imbalance on your skin that can result in a rash. While it's possible that your symptoms will be mild, your hives could also cause pain and discomfort if you don't take immediate steps to reduce your stress levels. In addition, stress can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.

Wrinkles and Fine Lines

Stress is a surefire way to age prematurely. If you want to avoid signs of premature aging, it's best to avoid being stressed whenever possible. Stress, whether you like it or not, can cause changes to the proteins in your skin, which can result in reduced elasticity. Low skin elasticity means a higher propensity for developing fine lines and wrinkles.


Dealing with stress doesn't have to mean accepting adverse skin side effects. If you want to avoid stress-related skin problems this holiday season, set up a consultation with our team at North Pacific Dermatology today and we can help!

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