What Stress Does To Your Skin

Your nervous system and your skin are directly connected.

When you are stressed, your body will trigger a cascade of events that can cause skin problems.

Psychological stress can cause skin conditions like acne, alopecia and dermatitis.

The Skin Brain Axis

A network of nerve ends lies beneath your skin. These send and receive messages to and from the brain. You can feel heat, cold and pain on your skin.

But it’s also a two-way system. Your skin can send signals to the brain. But your brain can do the same.

The brain-skin axis is known.

Stress Hormones

When stressed, the hypothalamus in your brain, along with the pituitary gland and adrenal glands, release stress hormones, primarily Cortisol .

Cortisol, a steroid hormonal substance, stimulates your liver to release glucose (blood sugar). This gives you an energy boost to fight off the stressor or to run away.

This effect is life-saving when there’s danger but not so good if it lasts for a long time. Cortisol suppresses other functions in your body that are not essential, such as digestion, immunity and growth. This is done to conserve energy for dealing with stress. If cortisol levels are elevated for a long time, they can have a negative impact on these systems and damage your body.

How cortisol affects your skin

Cortisol causes inflammation in your entire body. It also stimulates sebum production in your sebaceous skin glands.

Both of these conditions can cause acne and flare-ups of psoriasis or dermatitis .

Cortisol also suppresses the immune system , so bacteria that normally wouldn’t be a problem can cause rashes and infections.

Cortisol also breaks down collagen and elastic, which are the proteins responsible for giving your skin structure and firmness. This can cause wrinkles, sagging, dull skin and slow wound healing.

Stress can also cause your blood vessels constrict. This could lead to a reduction in the blood flow to your face. Your skin may appear pale or blotchy.

Reduce Skin Disorders Caused by Stress

Reducing stress is the best way to reduce skin problems caused by stress.

It may be difficult to reduce your stress, but you can still do some things.

Simple ways to do this include creative art, mindfulness mediation, deep breathing exercises and time spent in nature.

Although you will never be able completely to avoid stressful situations, if you have healthy coping methods like these at your disposal, you will be more prepared to handle them when they occur.

Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you feel overwhelmed and need additional help. A therapist or psychiatrist will help you to address your circumstances in a more healthy way, and can give you customized tools to lower your stress levels.