Everybody feels stressed from time to time, but when it becomes chronic, it can have serious consequences on your health. Stress can increase your risk of developing depression, negatively impact your immune system, and increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Stress can also leave a mark on your face. Dry skin, wrinkles, and acne are just some of the ways that it can manifest itself.
The way stress shows on faces
Chronic stress can show on your face in two ways. First, the hormones that your body releases when you feel stress can lead to physiological changes that negatively impact your skin. Second, feeling stressed may also lead to bad habits such as grinding your teeth or biting your lips.
Read on to learn more about the specific ways stress may show on your face.
When you feel stressed, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol causes a part of your brain known as the hypothalamus to produce a hormone called corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH is thought to stimulate oil release from sebaceous glands around your hair follicles. Excessive oil production by these glands can clog your pores and lead to acne.
The stratum corneum is the outer layer of your skin. It contains protein and lipids that play a critical role in keeping your skin cells hydrated. It also acts as a barrier that protects the skin underneath. When your stratum corneum isn’t working the way it should, your skin can become dry and itchy.
Stress has the potential to weaken your immune system. A weakened immune system can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut and skin known as dysbiosis. When this imbalance occurs on your skin, it can lead to redness or a rash.
Stress causes changes to the proteins in your skin and reduces its elasticity. This loss of elasticity can contribute to wrinkle formation.
Stress may also lead to repeated furrowing of your brow that may also contribute to the formation of wrinkles.
Greying hair and hair loss
Common wisdom says stress can make your hair go grey However, it’s only recently that scientists have figured out why. Cells called melanocytes produce a pigment called melanin that gives your hair its colour.
Nervous activity from stress can cause the stem cells that create melanocytes to disappear. Once these cells disappear, new cells lose their colour and turn grey.
Ways to Ease the Effects of Stress on Your Skin
You probably can’t avoid stress completely, but you can try ways to handle it better. Try these approaches:
- Don’t neglect your skin. Take care of it, even if you’re tired or stressed.
- Get regular exercise. It’s good for your skin and the rest of your body.
- Take time for yourself to do something you enjoy, even if you only have 10 minutes. Take a bath or read a book.
- Practice stress management techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or visual imagery.
- Get enough sleep. Seven to 8 hours each night is ideal.
- Say no. It’s OK to set limits and boundaries to lower your stress.
- Talk to someone. Seek support from a friend or a professional therapist.
If you are experiencing any unusual or persistent symptoms of stress, you should consult with your GP. At Pall Mall, we offer private GP appointments for all ages. Click here for more information or call us on 0161 3940310.