Work anxiety is becoming common. Even as some people have returned to reguar office routines and some are grappling with hybrid working models, stress continues to hamper daily lives. Do you know that your skin can show whether you are experiencing anxiety or feeling stressed?
Over time, studies have shown that acute and chronic stress can negatively affect your overall skin wellness.
“It could also trigger numerous skin conditions, including eczema, acne, psoriasis, and hair loss,” says Dr Abhishek Pilani, MD Dermatologist and Founder of Assure Clinics.
The brain and skin are intertwined. The psychological stress from the brain can translate to your skin. Mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression can lead to new skin problems or flare up existing ones.
Dr Pilani explains why stress and skin are connected.
When a person feels stressed, their sympathetic nervous system releases stress hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline, which increase oil production in our skin glands. This can result in clogged pores and acne breakouts.
In addition, chronic stress constantly increases the levels of these hormones and adversely impacts our skin health.
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Moreover, stress and anxiety can cause increased internal inflammation. The human body, under pressure, makes its immune system overreact and activates an inflammatory response. Stress affects the balance of bacteria in your gut and leads to a release of inflammation. And internal inflammation can show its effect externally. This can make you experience skin conditions like acne, and others can flare up.
Further, people with chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis and eczema are more sensitive to flare-ups when stressed.
Remember, psychological stressors can contribute to stressed-out skin. Environmental stressors, via the skin, can contribute to psychological stress, kick-starting the stress cycle.
According to Dr Pilani, stress and anxiety physically affect our skin:
The stress hormone cortisol triggers an overproduction of sebum in the skin glands, which causes acne breakouts.
Stress impacts the immune system, resulting in more reactive and sensitive skin to be more reactive and sensitive. It can also cause rashes, hives, and redness on the skin.
It can deteriorate inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, etc., leading to flare-ups. Stress or anxiety can make you scratch your scabs and wounds and worsen your condition.
Here are some ways to keep your skin healthy, as per Dr Pilani.
First and foremost, it is essential to maintain a good skincare routine, even if you feel tired or anxious. Try to stick with your routine no matter what. You may be in your worst mood and not feel energetic enough to get up and care for your skin, but remember, neglecting could worsen your skin issues.
Add whole foods and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Avoid having processed and sugar-laden food as they can not only impact your skin but also affect overall health. Here are some recommendations related to diet for skin and hair.
It is important to rest properly. Sleep for an adequate number of hours will allow your body the time to heal and rejuvenate. Sleep also improves your mood, energy levels, and cognition ability.
It is essential to keep yourself physically active. Therefore, exercise regularly as it releases feel-good hormones that improve your energy.
If stress harms your skin or overall health, you must seek professional help to feel stronger in handling stress and anxiety and give your skin a chance to heal and revive.