When you're stressed out, it's not just your brain that suffers. In fact, your entire body suffers when you're stressed -- including your skin. Here's what you need to know about how managing stress can help improve your skin.
Everyone loves smooth skin. But when you're stressed out, you're more likely to develop or exacerbate skin rashes and irritation. Stress causes your immune system to function at a less than ideal rate. Unfortunately, a weakened immune system can result in a bacterial imbalance on your skin, which in turn may lead to a skin rash. You may only experience a little bit of redness and irritation, but it's also possible to experience a more severe reaction to your stress and lowered immune system function. In addition, stress can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. If you know you're prone to skin rashes or you have one of the conditions listed above, contact your dermatologist to learn how stress can exacerbate them.
Unfortunately, acne is one of the most common skin side effects of too much stress. Stress causes your body to create a hormone called cortisol, which in turn causes the hypothalamus to produce a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH is thought to stimulate your sebaceous glands and trigger oil release, which is no good for your skin. The excessive production of oil on your skin can clog your pores and lead to acne breakouts. Fortunately, most acne treatments are designed to help your skin regulate the amount of oil on its surface. But it takes more than acne medication to eliminate stress-related breakouts. In addition to your treatment program, it's important to make a note of what stresses you out the most. If you can identify when you're feeling stressed and put calming practices in place as soon as possible, then your skin is less likely to produce excess oil and clog your pores. Your dermatologist can also help you identify triggers for your acne if you're unsure whether or not stress is a root cause.
Puffiness and swelling around the eyes are telltale signs of sleep deprivation. If you're experiencing puffiness or swelling around your eyes, particularly underneath them, you could be experiencing a side effect of high stress levels. While under-eye bags become more common with age, they're a common side effect of stress caused by sleep deprivation. A cool compress can help alleviate this symptom temporarily, but it's up to you to identify what stressors are keeping you awake at night. If you're really struggling to sleep, it's important to see your doctor.
Stress really can make you look older than you are. The reason for this is that stress actually causes changes to the proteins in your skin. As a result, your skin's elasticity will be reduced, which can result in signs of premature aging like under-eye puffiness, wrinkles, and fine lines. Fortunately, cosmetic dermatology services like chemical peels, light therapies, and prescription retinol products can all help mitigate signs of premature aging.
Stress can wreak havoc on your skin. If you're struggling with stress and skin care, we can help. Don't hesitate to set up a consultation with our team at North Pacific Dermatology today.