Stress can affect your whole body, including your skin, hair, and nails.
♦In studies on mice at Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University, showed stress greatly increased skin cancer formations and weight gain when they were exposed to UV (ultraviolet) light. In another study¹, Yale University, found that people over their lifetime that had more stress than the norm or periods in their life of extreme stress prior to their melanoma diagnosis were more likely to have melanoma than people who did not have high levels of stress.
♦When you are stressed, you tend to break out more.
Stress causes your body to produce cortisol and other hormones, which tells your sebaceous (oil) glands to produce more oil than normal. This causes people to be more prone to acne and other skin problems. Cortisol is a powerful steroid which hinders your immune system. All the while increasing your sensitivity to allergens. Researchers at Stanford University examined the severity of acne at a college during the week of final exams. No surprise the more highly stressed a student was by their exams the worse the acne, while the less stressed students acne was minimal.
♦When under stress people have a tendency to frown more which increases the chance of developing frown lines around the mouth.
♦Stress can have negative effects on preexisting skin conditions, such as psoriasis, fever blisters, rosacea, eczema and cold sores. In one study, researchers examined students in three different scenarios: after returning from and during vacation when experiencing less stress and during final exams when experiencing high levels of stress. The results were that the skin’s normal functions were compromised, because the skin had become extremely dry and dull. This was caused by the skins outer layer to breakdown due to the lipids (ceramides, free fatty acids, and cholesterol) between those cells dissipation and reduction in size of skin cells. A study from Japan was done on patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema – an itchy inflammation of your skin) they experienced a lessening in their symptoms after watching a funny movie. They were also exposed to the allergens that triggered symptoms and still had a reduction it was hypothesized that the laughter lowered levels of hormones related to stress.
♦Stress in a study by Yale University in 2006, showed that stress slowed down wound healing and inflammation.
♦When people are stressed they tend to be less strident in following their skin care routine, which can aggravate skin problems, thus causing more stress over the skin problem causing a vicious cycle. Habits that form when you’re stressed – such as rubbing, scratching and biting your fingers or lip – increase your chances the chances of injuring the skin.
1 – Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; January 2009, Journal of Investigative Dermatology