We all go through periods of stress at some point in our lives. But when it gets chronic can have very serious consequences on your overall health. Stress can increase your risk of developing depression, suffering from cardiovascular disease, and it also weakens your immune system. But in addition, there are also certain effects of stress on the face.
Constant stress can cause a dry skin, wrinkles, and acne, and these are just some of the ways it can manifest itself. Read on to find out what other effects stress can have on your face.
How does chronic stress show up on our faces?
Chronic stress can show up on your face in two different ways. First, the hormones that your body releases when you feel stress can cause physiological changes that negatively impact your skin. Second, being under constant stress can also lead to bad habits, like grinding your teeth or biting your lips.
Here’s more information on the specific ways that stress can show up on your face.
When you are stressed, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol causes a part of your brain known as the hypothalamus to produce a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH is thought to stimulate release of oil from the sebaceous glands around the hair follicles. Excessive oil production by these glands can clog pores and lead to acne.
Although stress is widely believed to cause acne, there are only a few studies that have examined this connection.
In a 2017 study The effect of stress on acne was observed in medical students between 22 and 24 years of age. Researchers found that having higher levels of stress was positively correlated with acne severity.
In an epidemiological study of South Korea conducted in 2011 examined the possible aggravating factors of acne in 1236 people. The researchers found that the stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and menstruation they can potentially make acne worse.
Bags under your eyes
Bags under the eyes are characterized by puffiness under the eyelids. They become more common with age because the supporting muscles around the eyes weaken. Sagging skin caused by loss of elasticity can also contribute to bags under the eyes.
An investigation he discovered that stress caused by lack of sleep increases the signs of aging, such as fine lines, reduced elasticity and uneven pigmentation. The loss of elasticity of the skin can also contribute to the formation of bags under the eyes.
The stratum corneum is the outer layer of your skin. It contains proteins and lipids that play a fundamental role in keeping skin cells hydrated. It also acts as a barrier that protects the skin underneath. When your stratum corneum is not working as it should, your skin can get dry and itchy.
According to a 2014 revision Published in Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets, a couple of studies conducted in mice found that stress affects the barrier function of the stratum corneum and can negatively affect water retention in the skin.
The review also mentions that several human studies have found that the stress of an interview and the stress of a “marital breakdown” can also slow down the ability of the skin barrier to heal itself.
Stress also has the ability to weaken your immune system. A weak immune system can cause a imbalance of bacteria in the gut and skin known as dysbiosis. When this imbalance occurs in the skin, there may be a redness or a rash.
Stress is known to trigger or aggravate several conditions that can cause skin rashes or inflammation, such as psoriasis, eczema, and contact dermatitis.
Stress causes changes in the proteins of the skin and reduces its elasticity. This loss of elasticity can contribute to the formation of wrinkles. Stress can also cause you to frown constantly, which can also contribute to the formation of wrinkles.
Gray hair and hair loss
It is common knowledge that stress can turn your hair gray. However, it was only recently that scientists have discovered why this happens. Cells called melanocytes produce a pigment called melanin that gives hair its color.
A 2020 study published in Nature found that the sympathetic nerve activity of stress can cause the stem cells that create melanocytes to disappear. Once these cells disappear, the new cells lose their color and turn gray.
Chronic stress too can interrupt the hair growth cycle and cause a condition called telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium causes more hair to shed than normal.
More effects of stress on the face
Other ways stress can affect your face include:
- Dental damage Many people get into the habit of grinding their teeth when they feel stressed or anxious. Over time, this can cause permanent damage to your teeth.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. TMJ is a group of health problems that affect the joint where your jaw connects to your skull. It can be caused by repeatedly clenching your teeth.
- Redness of the face. Stress can cause you to change your breathing habits. These breathing habits can temporarily turn your face red.
- Sore lips Many people bite their lips or the inside of their mouth when they feel stressed.
How to reduce our stress levels
Some causes of stress, such as sudden death in the family or unexpected job loss, are unavoidable. However, finding ways to cope with stress and minimize its impact can help you manage it better and reduce unnecessary stress.
Some ways that you can reduce your stress levels include:
- Set aside time each day for relaxing activities. Taking time out for activities that make you feel relaxed can help reduce stress if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your busy schedule.
- Maintain good lifestyle habits. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep will help your body better handle stress.
- Stay active. Exercise can help lower your stress hormone levels and give you a moment when you can distract yourself from the cause of stress.
- Talk to other people. Talking to a friend, family member, or mental health professional helps many people cope with stress.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Persistent drug and alcohol use can cause problems in addition to your stress.
What we can conclude
Stress is an inescapable part of life. However, when stress becomes chronic, it can leave a lasting impact on your face. Acne, gray hair, and dry skin are just some of the ways that stress can manifest itself.
Minimizing the causes of stress in your life and learning stress management techniques can help you fight these effects of stress on your face and slow down the aging process.