If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have some level of stress; it’s simply a part of our everyday life during the COVID 19 crisis. No one is immune to this novel coronavirus or to the anxiety it brings.
But did you know that stress can affect more than your state-of-mind? It can affect your entire body … yes, even your skin, hair, and nails!
How Stress Affects Your Skin
When stressed or anxious, your body reacts with “fight or flight” hormones - cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are beneficial in a true emergency - they increase your concentration, reaction time, and strength.
But exposure to these stress hormones for a long period of time can affect your overall health and can trigger skin problems.
Skin diseases that are normally well managed can flare-up when you’re stressed and if stress causes you to skip your daily skincare regimen it can cause new breakouts or you can lose ground in managing your condition.
Flare-ups may even cause you to be more stressed if you withdraw from your support networks because you’re concerned about how you look.
Rosacea & Other Skin Conditions Triggered By Stress
Here are seven examples of chronic skin conditions that can be triggered by stress and anxiety.
- Rosacea - Stress and worry can cause people with rosacea to have more pronounced breakouts, which in turn leads to more stress over their physical appearance.
- Acne - Cortisol triggers the body to produce more oil, which leads to acne growth.
- Seborrheic dermatitis - Dry and flaking skin, with accompanying redness and itching, can increase during times of stress.
- Psoriasis - Stress is a big factor in causing or worsening psoriasis outbreaks due to increased cortisol levels.
- Vitiligo - Emotional stress may contribute to the growth or spread of vitiligo.
- Eczema - Stress is a known trigger for eczema. It can worsen outbreaks.
Stress can also cause acute symptoms like dehydration, rashes, hives, and fever blisters.
8 Ways to Manage Your Stress
While stress can’t be removed entirely from your life, you can reduce its impact on your skin by managing it well.
- Maintain your skin-care regimen. Even if you’re feeling fatigued or stressed.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink at least 64 oz. of water each day.
- Keep a positive attitude!
- Practice stress management techniques. You can try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management.
- Get some exercise. It can be as simple as going for a walk. Being outside in nature is very therapeutic.
- Sleep at least 7-8 hours each night. It’s important to get enough rest!
- Give yourself permission to step back from the stress to do something you enjoy. Tap out for a short time to read a book, take a relaxing bath, or for a hobby.
- Talk with a friend (or a professional therapist) about what’s stressing you out.
What if I Experience a Flare-Up
If you have a flare-up it’s important to reach out to your dermatologist right away to schedule an online (TeleDerm) or in-office visit. Your provider will assess your condition and, if necessary, develop a treatment plan to suit your needs.
Call Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater at (757) 461-1033 (Opt 1) to schedule your appointment.
Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater
Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater, located in Norfolk, Virginia, provides comprehensive personalized dermatologic care to patients of all skin types, conditions, and ages.
Medical director Jonathan Schreiber, MD, PhD and the entire professional medical team at Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater approach dermatologic exams from the medical root of an issue, and similarly, cosmetic issues from the science of a treatment, using science-based support and results with the treatment services offered to patients.