Stress Can Trigger Skin Problems, Dermatologist Share Advice

Mental health significantly impacts physical health, including the condition of our skin. Dermatologists confirm that stress can exacerbate various skin issues, affecting how our skin looks and feels.

Dr. Afton Cobb, a dermatologist, often encounters patients whose skin conditions worsened due to stress. “It’s amazing how much stress affects our entire body, but especially our skin,” she says.

Hormonal Impact

When stressed, the body releases hormones that affect overall health, including skin health.

Dr. Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology in New York explains that stress hormones like cortisol can increase oil gland production, leading to clogged pores and worsening acne.

Stress also impacts the skin barrier, potentially causing dry skin and flares of eczema or psoriasis.

“When the skin barrier is affected, it can result in dry skin and flares of eczema or psoriasis,” Jaber adds.

Studies have shown that atopic dermatitis, or eczema, can worsen with stress, according to Dr. Cobb.

Aging and Hair Loss

Stress hormones can accelerate skin aging by breaking down collagen and elastin, reducing skin elasticity. “This can cause more fine lines and wrinkles and accelerate skin aging,” says Jaber.

Chronic or severe stress can also affect hair health. “Stress can trigger autoimmune patches of hair loss called alopecia areata and cause diffuse hair shedding called telogen effluvium,” Jaber says.

Additionally, chronic stress may accelerate hair graying, as shown in studies conducted on mice.

Preventing Stress-Related Skin Issues

Maintaining a simple, consistent skincare routine is crucial. “Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, use sunscreen regularly, and keep your skin moisturized,” suggests Jaber.

Managing stress itself is equally important. “You can’t always remove stress from your life, but you can influence how you respond to it,” Cobb advises.

Seeking support from a therapist, having a good support group, and removing stressors, if possible, can help manage stress.

Lifestyle changes such as adequate sleep, regular exercise, good nutrition, meditation, and spending time with loved ones can also reduce stress and improve overall health, including skin health.

“Don’t hesitate to seek professional treatment from a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist if needed,” Jaber adds.

With information from CBS News

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