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What Stress Does To Your Skin: Dehydration, Breakouts And More

Dr. Umar Mushtaq

1 min read

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In a stressful situation, the body releases certain hormones that get into the blood and cause widespread damage downstream. Naturally, the skin is also not spared the havoc that stress hormones wreak.

The chemical response to stress makes the skin more sensitive and reactive. If there is already a skin problem going on, it can further aggravate it and delay its healing. According to dermatologists, amongst the skin conditions that stress can aggravate are eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and fever blisters.

How stress affects the skin?

As mentioned before, stress releases certain hormones like cortisol which have a widespread action. On the skin, cortisol causes inflammatory changes to persist and causes a flare-up of skin rashes and hives. Moreover, it causes the oil glands in the skin to make more oil which can aggravate acne and other skin problems.

Sometimes, during stressful situations, we fail to deal with skincare and skimp on it. This further exacerbates the problem. The skin is thus deprived of care and nutrients. Scientists are also working on ‘psychodermatology’ the field that addresses the impact of emotion on skin. Inflammatory markers in the blood show that conditions such as alopecia and vitiligo, which are autoimmune disorders can also be triggered by a stressful event.

Stress can dehydrate the skin:

The sweat glands of the body are activated in a stressful situation. Adrenaline and cortisol are both responsible for this response. The result is that the skin dries out faster and there is a flare-up of conditions like eczema.

Stress levels can affect hair loss:

Just like the skin, the scalp is also affected due to stress. Some people find their hair have become oilier, while others find the hair to become more brittle and dry during stressful situations. Seborrheic dermatitis, a condition of the scalp causing dryness and dandruff is worsened during anxiety and tension. It all depends on how your body handles stress. Under certain conditions, hair loss can also occur.

Stress affects nails:

Even nails are not spared the effects of stress hormones. Nail growth can stop during a period of anxiety, and they can start to peel off or become brittle.

How to handle stress?

While no one can avoid stressors in life, it is important to learn how to handle it such that the body does not bear the brunt of it. Here are a few tips that can help you take better care of your skin during times of anxiety:

  • Take care of your skin no matter what the situation
  • Exercise regularly so that the stress hormone decreases naturally
  • Teach yourself relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and breathing exercises
  • Take time out for yourself and do something that you enjoy—a warm bath or a book
  • Get adequate sleep, ideally seven to eight hours
  • Seek professional help to manage your stress and mental health

Stress can have far-reaching effects on every organ of the body, including the skin. If your skin is troubling you owing to anxiety, then seek professional help to manage its ramifications. Book an appointment with top dermatologist in Karachi, Lahore and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Umar Mushtaq
Dr. Umar Mushtaq - Author Dr. Umar Mushtaq is a dermatologist based in Lahore. He has expertise in treatment of acne scars, birthmarks, wrinkles, pigmentations, age spots, and freckles.

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