Why Are Stress and Inflammation Bad for Your Skin?
Everyone feels stressed occasionally, but if you are constantly stressed out emotionally or regularly exposed to environmental stressors, it could show up on your skin. Emotional and environmental stress stimulate various inflammatory pathways throughout your body, causing a number of adverse effects on your skin. Read on to learn more about the connection between stress, inflammation, and your skin and what you can do to protect it.
How Does Stress Cause Inflammation?
Our bodies respond to stress by releasing a surge of hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol and other stress-related hormones bind to receptors throughout your body, which then “turn on” inflammation and suppress the immune system. Although this is a natural response to acute stress, it is very difficult to “turn off” inflammatory pathways once they have been turned on. I like to use the character Infla-Man™ to represent the many different pathways that lead to inflammation. You do not need to understand the complex scientific pathways that lead to inflammation, but you should know that once Infla-Man gets turned on- a vicious cycle of worsening inflammation occurs until you do something to stop it.
Additionally, if you do not remove the source of stress — whether that’s psychological or environmental stress — your body will continue to release stress hormones, which will continue to trigger inflammation and this cycle of activated pathways.
How Does Inflammation Affect Your Skin?
Inflammation negatively affects your skin in many ways and can cause premature aging, acne breakouts, rosacea flare-ups, and other conditions.
- Lines and wrinkles. Whether caused by internal or external stressors, inflammation can make your skin appear wrinkled and aged much sooner than it naturally would. Inflammation slows cellular regeneration, causes DNA damage, and leads to dryness and dehydration — all of which contribute to aged skin.
- Inflammation also turns on cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for creating melanin, or pigment. This is why emotional stress, sun exposure, air pollution, and other stressors often cause dark spots on the skin.
- Redness and breakouts. If you struggle to manage rosacea, acne, eczema, or other inflammatory skin conditions, stress can make your symptoms worse by triggering even more inflammation than you are already dealing with.
Can You Get Dry Skin from Stress?
Yes, inflammation caused by stress can deplete your skin of the lipids that make up its natural protective barrier, allowing excess water to escape into the atmosphere. This is known as transepidermal water loss and leaves your skin dry and dehydrated.
Replenish your skin’s barrier with a barrier repair cream that contains myristoyl/palmitoyl oxostearamide/arachamide mea (also called MLE technology). MLE barrier repair creams contains a 1:1:1 ratio of ceramides, lipids, and fatty acids to mimic the makeup of your skin’s natural barrier and therefore repair and strengthen it.
It is impossible to eliminate all sources of stress from our lives, but you can make a conscious effort to reduce stress and achieve a healthier, younger-looking complexion. Don’t forget that the sun, smoking, and air pollution are also sources of stress, in addition to work, finances, and other personal matters.
Pair your great stress management plan with a skin care regimen designed for your unique Baumann Skin Type®, and include plenty of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients in your diet and skin care products for added protection against free radicals and inflammation.
Wishing you great skin!
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