You might be familiar with the obvious signs of stress: headaches, hypertension, stomach pains. But, what is stress doing to your skin? A new field of research called psychodermatology is shedding light on the brain-skin connection, revealing emotions can be reflected on skin. (Think work deadlines, meeting the in-laws, or frustration from running late to an event.)
Symptoms of stress on skin can be short-term or chronic, and can trigger:
- - A psoriasis flare up, or make psoriasis worse.
- - Rashes and itching.
- - Increased blood flow and expansion of capillaries, which makes skin appear more red and inflamed.
- - Increased adrenal gland activity, which can boost sebum (oil) production (setting the stage for acne -development).
- - Alopecia (hair loss) and vitiligo (depigmentation of skin).
Yoga, deep breathing, exercise, sleep, aromatherapy… even a quick walk during the day can help de-stress your life and manage skin reactions. Cutting back on caffeine and sugar (which spike adrenal gland activity) can also help manage skin stress. Of course, if skin issues are severe, seek the advice of a skin care professional. Fortunately, as science learns more about the brain-skin connection skin care products have become more advanced in managing skin issues triggered by stress, as well as any environmental impacts leading to skin issues.