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Did you know that the effects of stress on the body can cause a variety of beauty problems and skin conditions? Read on to find out how chronic stress can affect your skin and what you can do to stop it.
WRINKLES ARE ONE OF THE EFFECTS OF STRESS ON THE SKIN
When you live in a chronic state of stress, you are constantly producing the hormone cortisol, this can have a significant effect on your skin. Cortisol is responsible for weight gain, high blood pressure and collagen breakdown, among other things. This makes it harder for the skin to repair itself naturally, continue to form healthy collagen and elastin, and deal with damage. You can decrease your levels of cortisol and reverse this damage by getting lots of restful sleep and exercise.
HAIR LOSS IS ONE OF THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF STRESS ON THE BODY
Hair loss due to stress is not so uncommon. Stress can cause sudden hair loss by literally flipping the switch on the hair follicle’s growth stage from an active to a resting phase. Once the follicle enters this resting phase prematurely, it stays there for about three months, after which time a large amount of hair will be lost. When you experience an overall loss of hair, you must cast back a few months to find the trigger. Was the hair loss due to stress? Rest assured that in most women, hair loss dues to stress will grow back in the future.
ADULT ACNE IS ONE OF THE EFFECTS OF STRESS ON THE SKIN
Acne isn’t just for hormonally crazed teenagers. Many adults can’t seem to outgrow the acne outbreaks because of stress hormones. What makes the onset of stress induced acne worse is that tense people often can’t leave pimples alone. Squeezing, poking and picking at them becomes an almost obsessive way to release tension, but it also makes acne breakouts worse, exacerbating the inflammatory response, and you’re left feeling a bit more stressed. So no picking!
IRRITATION AND ALLERGIES ARE ONE OF THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF STRESS
Your skin has mast cells, which release histamines in response to biochemicals like stress hormones. Histamines are key players in allergies and inflammations; they can trigger ailments like hay fever and asthma, and they can wreak havoc on skin disorders and disease. Once triggered, mast cells can stir up a soup of chemical pests, which can set off a range of skin conditions or simply aggravate existing ones, from dermatitis and hives to psoriasis.
HORMONAL MOOD SWINGS ARE ONE OF THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF STRESS
There is a lot of interaction between hormone physiology and mood that works both ways. Our mood can impact our physiology, and our physiology can influence the balance of our hormones. If stress can sit at the top of a cascade of events that lead to undesirable hormonal changes in the body (like those that trigger insomnia, insatiable hunger and weight gain, and collagen breakdown), then what we want to do is find ways to gain the upper hand on our stress level and ensure that we keep all those hormones in check.
PUFFY, TIRED EYES ARE ONE OF THE EFFECTS OF STRESS ON THE SKIN
Stress affects and ages eyes by robbing us of the deep, restorative sleep that’s essential to the youth and health of our whole body. Getting too little shuteye sets off a series of skin problems–inflammation, broken capillaries, and poor waste removal. Fluids that should be carted away while you sleep never get picked up. In your face, the excess liquid has to go somewhere, so it pools in the delicate tissue under the eyes. The effects of stress on the eyes? Dark, puffy, under-eye circles.
MINI-MENOPAUSE IS ONE OF THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF STRESS ON THE BODY?
The jury is still out on exactly how or if this is possible, but it appears that the constant flow of cortisol that goes along with chronic stress causes a dip in estrogen, one that mimics, on a smaller scale, the dip that occurs during menopause. Less estrogen means less collagen and less moisture. So, while estrogen levels may not drop enough to shut down your period, stress may make them dip enough to make your skin look dull and dry.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT ALL THIS STRESS AND ITS EFFECTS?
First, don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t stress yourself out even more! You may be feeling like you can’t get control of your body because so much of what goes on happens naturally. But hopefully, once you begin to establish better coping skills for handling stress, and begin to employ these techniques to nourish and treat your body optimally both inside and out, you will discover a path to wellness and beauty. You can shift the balance of power into your hands and support a healthy balance in your body simply by changing the way you strategize through life.
About the Authors
Doctors Alice Pien, MD and Asher Milgrom, Phd are established pioneers in the fields of Regenerative Medicine and Skincare. Their expertise ranges from advanced laser systems to stem cell medicine. Their medical education and advanced certifications span from medical schools of NY State University, the University of Chicago, to John Hopkins, Harvard and UCLA. They approach medicine with the clinical expertise of over 85,000 successful treatments over the past 20 years and significant scientific research resulting in proprietary protocols that they customize for each individual patient.