Stress and Your Skin

Posted on April 30, 2014
Stressed woman clutching her forehead and face

Have you ever noticed that your skin tends to look worse when you’re feeling stressed out? That’s no coincidence.

Believe it or not, stress can be almost as harmful to your skin as the sun. It causes wide ranging problems in the skin including dry skin, dandruff, rashes, wrinkles, and even cellulite. It also exacerbates skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, rosacea, and eczema. The American Association of Dermatologists has stated that stress has been “shown to impair skin barrier function and dehydrate the skin – allowing more irritants, allergens, and infectious agents to penetrate the skin and cause problems.” As you can tell stress is bad news for your skin but how and why?

When you stress out your body greatly increases its production of cortisol. Though cortisol is naturally occurring in the body at increased levels it effects the body very negatively. High levels of cortisol raise  the body’s blood sugar through the glycation process. This in turn causes sugar molecules to attach to  protein molecules in your body, including collagen and elastin. When sugar molecules bind to proteins  it causes skin cells to become more rigid. Effects of the glycation process can result in wrinkling, loss of elasticity, stiffness, and accelerated aging. Many studies have been done on the relationship between stress and skin to better help people take better care of their skin.

In fact, a relatively new study called psychodermatology has been gaining popularity. Psychodermatology is a type of medicine which studies the psychosomatic interaction between the mind and skin. This  amazing connection between the body and mind is just another reminder why it’s so important to give ourselves a break every now and again.

See Vine Vera’s Stress Guide to learn more about how stress can affect the skin.

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