Everyday life is full of stressors—with the combination of work, family, friends, finances, and responsibilities, things can feel even more stressful. While stress has been coined as merely a psychological phenomenon, researchers understand that stress plays a significant part in the health of your skin and body. The most notable manifestations of stress typically occur on the skin. Stress affects everyone differently, but the more stressed you feel, the more likely you are to experience these skin problems.
Stress Leads to More Breakouts
Those with stubborn acne can probably tell you that stress seems to contribute to more breakouts and inflammation, but they might not know why. The real culprit is cortisol, a hormone that is produced when the body is under a significant amount of stress, which signals the skin to produce more oil. This increase in oil can clog pores and cause painful breakouts. Acne isn’t the only type of breakout triggered by stress. Stress can also cause hives and rashes due to changes in hormonal levels. These changes can also expand blood vessels leading to red, swollen skin areas.
Stress Can Aggravate Previous Skin Conditions
Stress doesn’t just cause skin problems—it can also worsen one’s existing skin issues. Inflammatory conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are two examples of skin issues triggered by anxiety or stress. There are multiple theories as to why stress causes these conditions or reoccurs. Many believe it’s because stress interferes with the healing process that would typically happen and reduce symptoms relating to skin issues. When stress interferes with the healing process, the body can no longer fight off the symptoms leading to inflammation.
Stress Can Lead to Premature Signs of Aging
Research has shown that chronic stress can lead to premature wrinkles. Cortisol can break down the collagen in your skin as it produced more and more oil. The more stressed you feel, the more cortisol your body will produce, and eventually, your skin cells won’t be able to naturally replenish elastic and collagen at the rate needed to keep your skin tight and smooth.
Don’t Let Stress Age You
If you notice that your stressful life has affected your overall health by either taking a physical or mental toll, it is probably a good idea to slow down. You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking some time to focus on yourself and check in on your needs from time to time. Plan a meet-up with some friends or get some exercise with a fun bike ride or hike.
If you’ve already noticed signs of aging in your face due to stress, you can always get a fresh start with Botox® treatment or dermal filler injections to help smooth away lines and wrinkles that have started to form. If breakouts are your primary concern, you can also try a TCA Peel or Laser Skin Resurfacing treatment to help get your skin back on track.