If you have noticed a spot pop up before a big event or your eczema flaring up during a stressful time then you are not alone. Stress can be a main trigger for the development and worsening of skin conditions and I'm going to fill you in on why this is and how to protect your skin.
How Does Stress Affect the Skin?
Skin like all organs is prone to changes, whether these are environmental, physical or psychological. The psychological change is so influential that it actually has its own category in the medical industry; Psychodermatology.
In Psychodermatology, we look at how mental distress can have an impact on your skin. It also allows us to determine certain patterns as well as distinguish which bodily processes are involved in these changes. There are lots of skin conditions that have been linked with stress, including Rosacea, Psoriasis, rashes, allergies, cold sores, Vitiligo and hair loss, among many others.
Stress and skin conditions can be a vicious cycle; Many patients often find themselves making their stress levels higher due to be being stressed about their skin. This is why it is essential that you get in a habit of dealing with stress, noticing its signs and finding mechanisims to help yourself.
Exposure to long periods of low-level stress can also exacerbate existing skin conditions - Dr. Nina Roos, Vichy
Stress and Spots
One of the most common stress related conditions is worsening of acne and blemishes. This has been linked to overproduction of Cortisol, which is our main stress hormone.
During stressful periods, our body starts to produce Cortisol, which works on the Testosterone pathway. Both of these hormones have been linked to increasing the production of sebum; which as a result has an influence on development of acne.
Stress and Eczema
Another skin condition which has been linked to stress is Eczema. Dermatologists have listed stress as one of the main triggers for worsening and flare ups associated with Eczema for years.
These flare ups are a result of your body becoming inflamed in order to deal with stress. Although this pathway is seen in all individuals, those who suffer from Eczema will see the effects almost twice as badly. This makes it all the more important to find strategies to deal with stress.