Most of us have heard of skin concerns, but what…
So the story goes that MD, Ph.D., Rick Fried was giving a talk about the connection between psychology and dermatology. One dermatologist in the audience was skeptical about the validity of the claim that there was any connection between the two and challenged Fried verbally. As the two sparred, a third dermatologist joined the fray, coming to Fried’s defense, and telling the skeptical doctor that, before he attacked Fried, he should pull the zipper up on his pants. Although the cynical dermatologist’s fly was not open, his blush confirmed the validity of Fried’s argument and dismissed any doubt about the correlation between the skin and the emotions.
Psychodermatology is the based on the theory that the skin is affected by the emotions. Psychologists are now exploring the possibility that stress, or other psychological issues such as hives, itching, eczema, and acne. The following are some examples of the way skin responds to stress and what can be done to prevent it.
One of the effects of stress is the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol slows skin cells and makes them take longer to flake off. The result is a build-up of dead skin cells leading to skin dullness. If you feel you’re skin is looking lifeless as an effect of excess stress, try drinking water and exfoliating regularly for a quick skin pick-me-up.
The release of cortisol can also be responsible for the loss of elastin and collagen, leading to saggy skin with less elasticity. If stress is causing your skin to sag, try eating foods with soy that help to increase the production of collagen. Use products which contain vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. Avoid retinoids, which will only exacerbate the problem.
Another effect of stressed skin is a low lipid barrier which causes fluids to evaporate, and cortisol hormones decrease skin’s ability to retain moisture. If your skin is dry, try an applying a moisture mask with a hydrating serum. Skip cleansers and toners containing ingredients such as Ammonium Laureth Sulphate as these are known to be harsh and may irritate skin.
When stress strikes, the epidermal skin cell barrier is broken down. As a result, harmful bacteria has access to the deepest layers of skin. Cleansing deeply with mild soap is the quick fix for a skin infection. Use warm water, not hot, pat skin to dry and avoid rubbing, follow with an immediate application of moisturizer.
Oil production increases when you’re stressed, blocking the pores, and that leads to acne breakouts. If your stress is triggering pimples, keep your skin devoid of dirt, dead cells, and oils. Go for the oil-free beauty products and use a soft cloth to gently wash your face, as scrubbing can irritate acne.
Keep in mind that all these quick fixes are just that, quick fixes and the best way to eliminate stressed skin is to eliminate the source of the stress. Good luck in keeping stress to the minimum and beauty to the maximum.