What You Didn’t Know About Stress and Your Skin


What You Didn’t Know about Stress and Your Skin


Stress is a common bodily response to events or challenges in one’s life, including everyday pressures at school, work, or at home. These feelings of emotional and physical tension are demanding on our bodies, and one organ heavily affected by stress is the skin.

In response to stress, our nervous system releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into the blood so we can combat whatever threat we are facing at the moment. However, these stress hormones have adverse effects on our skin. One way your skin suffers from stress is due to the hormone cortisol, which causes your body to produce excess oils in your skin glands. This overproduction of sebum directly contributes to acne breakouts because the oils clog your pores, causing bacteria and inflammation to develop. On top of causing acne to form, inflammation caused by cortisol prevents such acne from healing. This is especially detrimental to those experiencing chronic stress from daily life. 


Beyond just causing breakouts, stress can exacerbate pre-existing conditions like rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. Flare ups are common for those affected by these types of skin conditions when exposed to stress. Plus, your immune system is also heavily affected. When faced with long term stress, your immune system becomes weaker due to a loss in infection-fighting white blood cells, or lymphocytes. Even a few days or weeks of stress can be enough to have detrimental consequences on your immune system, which may cause your skin to be more sensitive and reactive. This can lead to outbreaks of rashes, hives, and more. Your skin is the first line of defense against a plethora of toxins, and it is just as sensitive to psychological stress as it is environmental stress. In fact, your skin is exposed to a much broader range of stressors than just about any other organ in the body. That is why it’s so important to take steps to reduce your daily stress, relax, and keep your skin clear as can be. 


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