Have you noticed breakouts, inflammation, and oiliness when you are stressed? When you are stressed, your somatic nervous system responds by signaling your adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. Typically, this can be helpful in stressful situations, activating the heart to beat faster, quickening your breathing, causing blood vessels to dilate, and increasing glucose levels in the bloodstream. However, increased levels of stress can affect skin health, cause or worsen skin conditions, and trigger the emergence of chronic skin disorders.
About Stress Responses
The National Cancer Institute defines what we commonly call stress as “the body‘s response to physical, mental, or emotional pressure.” Events that cause stress responses are known as stressors. An individual’s responses to these stressors are conscious and unconscious. This stress can be experienced in an acute or chronic scope.
How Does Stress Affect the Skin?
Stress can impact the skin in several different ways, through physiologic changes such as the feeling of itch, visible rashes, or changes in your behavior (scratching, picking skin, peeling) that can worsen skin disease. According to research published by Garg A of Dermatology Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, stress can also be caused by a skin condition that is already present, which is why people experiencing stress and skin conditions often end up in a frustrating self-perpetuating cycle.
How Does the Stress Hormone Cortisol Affect Skin Health?
The skin acts as a living filter, reducing harm from external irritants in the environment, but that filter works in both directions. The hormone cortisol, which is triggered by stress, affects the skin from the inside, causing inflammation, itchiness, impaired skin barrier function, delayed wound healing, and decreased immunity.
Skin Conditions Triggered by Stress
Certain skin diseases can be triggered by stress including acne, alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, urticaria (hives), and more. And on the other side of the skin/stress coin, living with chronic disorders, including eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, and others can lead to mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Learning to end the skin-stress cycle can be essential to healing and well-being. Addressing skin concerns can decrease overall stress, helping to break the cycle once and for all.
Create a Skincare Regimen to Manage Your Stressed Skin
If you are in the New York City area, book an appointment with our licensed dermatologist, Dr. Krant, to create a skincare regimen that’s right for you. Dr. Krant is a board-certified dermatologist with over 20 years of experience in the field.
Schedule a Consultation
Contact us today if you are interested in scheduling a consultation or a skin care appointment with Dr. Krant. We are located at Art of Dermatology at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.
Jessica Krant, M.D., MPH, is a board-certified dermatologist with specialized experience in cosmetic, laser, surgical, and medical dermatology, but above all, Dr. Krant is most proud to be a caring, comprehensive physician who takes the time to listen and send her patients home with a smile.