Could Stress be Causing Your Skin to Age Faster?

How your skin looks and how healthy it is is directly connected to your stress levels. According to experts, research has proven that the stress hormone cortisol is responsible for breaking down collagen and causing inflammation when you’re stressed, meaning that you could be in lined for flare ups of adult acne, rosacea and psoriasis. And, of course, you’ll also be more at risk of premature lines and wrinkles. It isn’t just a coincidence that when you’re stressed you’re more prone to breakouts. Dermatologists regularly see patients who experience stress-related spots, wrinkles and rashes – it can even aggravate infectious diseases such as herpes and shingles. If you suffer from hives or eczema, this can also be made worse in times of extreme stress. The vicious cycle of itching and rubbing, which then makes the condition worse, can get particularly bad during this time, leading to the skin thickening which perpetuates the problem. Conditions which are made worse by stress range from acne which is picked and made worse by a nervous patients to more severe problems, such as prurigo nodularis – this is an intractable condition which involves a relentless itch and chronic picking or itching of the skin. The more stressed you are, the worse you make the problem, in turn making you more stressed – the cycle is perpetual.

The relationship between the feeling of itching and the reflex to scratch at it is obvious – mention lice or scabies to someone and they immediately feel the need to scratch at their skin. However, researchers are still unsure why and how stress can cause itching. There are obviously genetic factors which influence how prone we are to stress-related skin disorders, as our hormones play a big role, but the impact of stress determines far more than was once thought. Stress is more likely to increase the levels of natural chemicals in the skin and blood vessels, which could increase the redness and blood flow in that area. This leads to common problems such as rosacea. Stress has also been proven to affect the immune system, which can often make people more susceptible to infectious diseases.

Finding ways to manage your stress levels is the best way to calm your skin and reduce the levels of cortisol in the body. Stress not only takes its toll on your skin but also your mind and other areas of your body, such as your heart. Try to find the source of your stress – this will often determine how you deal with it. For example, if your stress is being caused by your job then you know that something here needs to change, be it your hours or the job itself. Talk to friends and family and seek their support – they may be able to calm you down and help you to see the bigger picture. Relaxing activities such as yoga or Pilates may help, and will also be good for your body overall. Or simply taking some time out of an evening to relax with a warm bath or reading a book may be all you need to lower your stress levels. Try to maintain healthy skin habits as well, such as an effective cleanse, tone and moisturising routine to keep your skin clear and glowing. If you’re worried about your skin, or it doesn’t seem to be improving with your lifestyle changes, try speaking to a dermatologist who may be able to help you get to the root of the problem.


*Our content is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis of individual problems or circumstances, nor should it be implied that we are a substitute for professional medical advice. Users / readers are always advised to consult their Healthcare Professional prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment. Your Wellness Group accepts no liability in the event you, a user of n-gage and a reader of this article, suffers a loss as a result of reliance upon or inappropriate application of the information.

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