The Toll Stress Takes on the Skin

Woman feeling her skin in the mirror The Toll Stress Takes on the Skin

When you're stressed out, it's not just your brain that suffers. In fact, your whole body can be affected by stress, and that includes your skin. If you're curious about how stress can affect your skin, here's what you need to know.

How Stress Affects Your Skin

Acne

If your skin is prone to acne flare ups, you might already be familiar with how stress can contribute to this particular skin woe. 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 is thought to stimulate your sebaceous glands and trigger oil release. That excess oil your skin produces can contribute to clogged pores, which may in turn lead to an acne flare up on your skin. Fortunately, most acne treatments are designed to help your skin regulate oil production, which means you need to be following your acne medication regimen closely. Learning how to rid your skin of stress-related acne also means that you need to understand what's stressing you out. 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. In addition, remember to follow your dermatologist's recommendations closely to mitigate the effects of stress on your acne.

Under-Eye Bags

Puffiness and swelling around the eyes is most commonly attributed to seasonal allergies, but the truth is that stress can contribute to this skin condition as well. Under-eye bags are a common symptom of high stress levels. While they become more common with age, they can also be the result of stress caused by sleep deprivation. If you're struggling to get seven to nine hours of solid sleep every night, it's safe to say your body is feeling more stressed out than normal. In addition to reducing your stress levels and getting enough sleep, your dermatologist can help you minimize the appearance of under-eye bags.

Skin Rashes

Stress is one of the most common triggers for skin rashes. When you're feeling stressed, it's possible that your immune system won't function as well as it needs to. Unfortunately, that might result in a bacterial imbalance on your skin, which can lead to a skin rash. While it's possible that your symptoms will be mild, you could also break out in painful hives if you don't take steps to reduce your stress levels and treat your rash. In addition, stress can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis. If you know stress tends to cause skin rashes on your body, don't hesitate to speak with your dermatologist about preventing and mitigating this symptom.

Wrinkles and Fine Lines

If you want to maintain your youthful glow, you'll want to avoid stress as best as you can. Though it may sound far-fetched, the truth is that stress can actually cause changes to the proteins in your skin, and as a result, can reduce its elasticity. Since elasticity is what keeps your skin looking and feeling smooth, any dip in it has the potential to manifest in the form of signs of premature aging like under-eye bags, wrinkles, and fine lines.


Stress can do more than make you feel exhausted. If your skin is struggling with stress levels, don't hesitate to set up a consultation with our team at North Pacific Dermatology today.

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