HomeTop StoriesStress can be "the triggering factor" for skin problems. Dermatologists share...

Stress can be “the triggering factor” for skin problems. Dermatologists share their advice.

There are many ways mental health can have consequencesT our physical health – but did you know that stress can even affect how our skin looks and feels? It’s true, say dermatologists.

Dermatologist Dr. Afton Cobb says she sees patients all the time who notice that “the factor that made their skin condition worse was stress in their lives.”

“It’s amazing how much stress obviously affects our whole body, but especially our skin,” she says.

How does it happen? It has to do with hormones.

“When you’re stressed, your body releases stress hormones that have a huge impact on your entire body, including your skin,” says dermatologist Dr. Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology in New York.

One of the main hormones released is cortisol, he says, which increases oil gland production and can result in clogged pores and worsening acne.

Stress can also damage your skin barrier.

“When the skin barrier is compromised, it can result in dry skin and outbreaks of eczema or psoriasis,” he explains.

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Studies have shown that atopic dermatitis — another name for eczema — can be worsened by stress, Cobb adds. It is a chronic condition with symptoms such as itchy, dry, red spots on the skin.

Stress hormones can also have an influence how our skin ages by breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to reduced skin elasticity.

“This can cause more fine lines and wrinkles and accelerate skin aging,” says Jaber.

Does stress cause hair loss?

It’s not just your skin; Chronic or severe stress can have an influence your hair at.

“Stress can cause autoimmune diseases called hair loss alopecia areata and cause diffuse hair loss called telogen effluvium,” says Jaber. ‘There was also a study in mice that showed that chronic stress can accelerate hair graying.’

Scalp itching can also be a sign of stress, anxiety or depression, Cobb adds.

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This way you prevent stress-related skin problems

Jaber says the best way to treat your skin to prevent damage from stress is to first get a… simple, regular skin care routine.

“Be consistent,” he suggests. “Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, use a sunscreen regularly and make sure your skin stays hydrated.”

The next step is to manage the stress itself to improve the skin conditions.

“You can’t always eliminate this stress from your life, but you can certainly influence how you respond to it,” says Cobb. “With my patients, we sometimes talk about them reaching out to a therapist, in an effort to make sure they have a good support group and, if possible, try to eliminate the stressful etiology.”

This can help prevent a cycle of stress-induced skin problems, such as acne breakouts, which can lead to skin pricking in stressed or anxious people, further worsening the situation.

“Many people experience that, it’s normal,” she says.

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Lifestyle changes can also help reduce stress and improve overall health, including skin health.

“Adequate sleep, regular exercise and good nutrition, meditation, and spending time with friends or loved ones can also help relieve stress,” Jaber adds. “If necessary, do not hesitate to seek professional treatment from a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.”

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