Would if we could, most of us would like to eliminate the word “stress” from our vocabulary. More directly, we would like to banish the chronic stress that seems to permeate daily living in today’s busy culture. That sounds more like it. Since it would be nearly impossible for the average person to do this, as it would require moving to a faraway place, like a cave in Tibet, to become isolated from the reality of stress, it is best to find out what we can do.
Stress cannot be avoided; plain and simple. This leaves us with no choice but to learn how to respond to the things that happen in life, so we can keep stress from running our life, and ruining our skin. That’s right, there are some very direct ways in which stress affects the skin. The link between what we feel emotionally and what happens physically is a little chemical called cortisol.
Cortisol can cause:
- Aging. We are going to age, yes; but why exacerbate the problem with stress? Cortisol has a negative effect on collagen and elastin fibers, causing this matrix to break apart faster than it would otherwise.
- Acne. Stress can cause a small breakout or a large flare-up, depending on how prone one is to acne. This is because the sebaceous glands kick into action in the presence of high cortisol, excreting larger amounts of oil into the skin. In turn, this can lead to clogged pores and acne.
- Skin conditions. Chronic skin conditions need ongoing management. Controlling stress can mean decreasing the risk of a flare up of rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema
Stress management is clearly not all about keeping your skin in good condition, though this is a good reason to implement some good relaxation techniques. Everything from yoga and meditation to walking in the park can be good for the nerves. The skin can also get some TLC from treatments like:
- Chemical peels
- Custom skin care programs
- Laser and light treatments
Dr. Regina Rosenthal is recognized as a friendly, experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon. In our office, patients can also find minimally-invasive and non-invasive care to support healthy, glowing skin.