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How does stress affect the skin?

It is believed there may be such a strong connection between emotions, including stress, and skin disorders that a new medical specialty has been born called "psychodermatology." This specialty holds that the mind and skin are very intertwined, especially in relation to conditions such as acne, eczema, hives, rosacea, psoriasis, and alopecia (hair loss). A lot of nerve endings are connected to the skin, such as those connected to the organs, so as emotions are played out neurologically, they can be expressed through the skin just as stress can be expressed through gastrointestinal symptoms, increased anxiety, or high blood pressure.
If a crisis is prolonged, cortisol and other stress hormones just keep pouring into your system. That’s chronic stress and your body doesn’t like to be in this unending, high wire state. While the cortisol is there to pump you up, you probably don’t need to lift cars or jump off a fire escape. Yet it keeps on flowing, taxing every system and organ in your body, including your skin. It can also disrupt the formation of new collagen, and sluggish collagen production makes skin thinner and weaker. Blood vessels become more fragile. It’s skin aging in a nutshell: As the skin loses its capacity to hold on to moisture and becomes less resilient, permanent lines become more visible on the surface. New skin cells don’t form as quickly, and cell turnover may eventually slow by half. Without a good blood supply, oil glands slack off and skin becomes dryer still.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.