Stressing Out Your Skin!
The role stress plays in our lives can be both good and bad. The role it plays in how we look is however, not good. Stress affects not only how we feel but how our skin looks. A growing body of research points to stress as being a significant causative factor in the development of many skin conditions from psoriasis, to acne, to sensitive and dehydrated skin. The worse thing is, the more we stress about it, the worse it tends to get.
From acne to eczema research shows us that during times of acute stress, rashes and breakouts become worse, sometimes significantly so. It also points to the potential role of chronic low-grade stress as a causative factor in persistent skin conditions.
Some of the side effects of stress include brittle nails, dry, thinning hair, sensitive skin reactions and increased perspiration. In existing skin conditions, stress can worsen symptoms by:
– Acne lesions and breakouts become more inflamed, last longer and take longer to heal.
– Worsening of the inflammation (redness) and dryness in eczema and rosacea
– Increased tendency to flushing and blushing
– Increased incidence of congestion and oily skin due to sebum production
– Increased sensitivity to irritants and infections agents
These effects are primarily caused by the impact of stress on skin permeability. In most chronic skin conditions there is an abnormality in the skin’s permeability barrier. The body responds by trying to repair the barrier and in the process initiates an inflammatory process in the deeper layers of the skin with the result of worsening skin symptoms. Even in people without existing skin conditions, stress has the ability to reduce skin permeability and increase dehydration and sensitivity. This may go some way to explaining why some people react to certain topical agent only some of the time; generally skin permeability is normal however during times of stress it is affected leaving skin