Whether it’s a big event or a major presentation at work, everyone has some form of stress in their life. Numerous studies over the years have shown that stress affects various parts of the body, including the brain, heart, stomach and lungs. However, there hasn’t been as much research to show how stress affects skin.
Think back to your school picture day, graduation day or wedding day. Did you wake up that morning with a pimple? Some professionals believe there is a relationship between stress and inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea and psoriasis. But because everyone experiences stress differently, it can be difficult to prove that stress is actually the cause.
The nervous system, which processes stress, is directly linked to conditions like psoriasis, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, board-certified dermatologist and founder of LovelySkin. Studies have shown that interrupting the nerve’s path to the area affected by psoriasis helps the condition in that area improve. With further study in the coming years, scientists should be able to better explain this connection.
Other nervous habits that often accompany stress can have an effect on skin. Nail biting, for example, can increase the risk of developing an infection of the skin surrounding the nail. Licking or biting lips leaves the skin dry, chapped and cracked. Twirling a small piece of hair around the finger can cause root damage at the scalp, leading to hair loss or infection.
Keeping stress levels under control will help improve your overall health. One of the best ways to manage stress is through regular exercise. Physical activity helps clear the mind and increases the production of endorphins, which are chemicals that trigger a positive feeling in the body. Getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night and setting aside time every day to do something special like read, relax or take a bath can also help reduce your stress level.
If you have concerns about your skin, you should always make an appointment to see your dermatologist. Even if stress is a factor, your dermatologist is the best person to diagnose and treat skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. He or she will be able to look for other causes and create a custom treatment plan to address your concerns.
How do you keep your stress level low? Share with us in the comments.