It never fails. Whenever I am stressed out or nervous my skin immediately breaks out. I never gave thought to the connection of stress and skin issues, however am a true believer that skin conditions can be caused by heightened stressful emotions that we are experiencing. These are 3 ways that stress can affect your skin.
When we become stressed, our body releases stress hormones including cortisol, which increases our skin’s oil production, thus making us prone to pimples.
Eczema and Psoriasis
Our epidermal skin cells lie on top of each other and are packed tightly together. Because of this they form a strong barrier to block bacteria and pathogens from penetrating into our skin. When we are under stress, this protective outermost layer of skin becomes impaired. Stress causes this outer layer of skin to break up as skin cells shrink and the lipids between these cells evaporated. These tiny cracks make the skin more permeable, allowing harmful bacteria to infiltrate the deeper layers of skin. These bacteria produce a protein that activates the immune system, leading to eczema and psoriasis.
Many believe that stress is the primary reason for unexplained hair loss. When we are under stress, hair can go into the telogen (fall-out) phase. The disorder Telogen effluvium is a very common hair loss problem that can occur up to three months after a stressful event. One such example of this is childbirth or surgery. During these times the body takes a “time-out” from growing hair to concentrate on recovery and healing. As as a result hair does not grow as much and some could shed and not grow back right away.
So what can I do?
First of all it is important to recognize the underlying problem that is triggering your symptoms and stress. This will help you develop the skills to help minimize the stress you are feeling.
Exercise is an extremely important activity to reduce stress. When you exercise you release endorphins in the body relieving stressful and emotional feelings, helping you to feel happier.