5 Effects of Stress on Your Physical Appearance
This is your cue to chill out. The effects of stress can go beyond psychological and affect your looks, too.
If you’ve ever been greeted with, “Bro, you look tired,” then you know that stress doesn't just affect your mood – it manifests in your appearance, too. Studies from Harvard Health, U.K. National Health Services, and the Journal of Psychological Science say that the effects of stress go beyond mental and emotional health. Here are the different ways it can show up on your skin, hair, and body.
Stress Compromises Your Skin Barrier
According to Harvard Health, compromises the epidermal barrier, which is the layer that protects the skin from germs and locks moisture in. The longer you experience stress, the more difficult it becomes to repair the barrier. It can lead to skin irritations such as eczema and psoriasis. The type of eczema caused by stress manifests as small blisters, usually on the hands and feet.
Stress Exacerbates Existing Skin Issues
If you have existing issues like acne, stress can make it worse, notes the National Institutes of Health. When your body produces cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, the skin also produces more sebum. It puts your hair follicles at greater risk of clogging and developing more acne.
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Stress Triggers Dandruff
The U.K. National Health Services lists stress and cold weather as factors that can make dandruff worse. While it’s not a direct cause of dandruff, it aggravates its triggers, which include eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis commonly affects such as the face and scalp.
Stress Can Cause Hair Fall
is one of the more well-known effects of stress. Harvard Health notes that a type of temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium can be caused by psychological stress, usually following a traumatic event. A study published in the American Journal of Pathology found that stress inhibits the hair’s growth phase and abruptly ends the period of active hair growth.
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Chronic Stress Can Lead to Health Problems
Releasing cortisol is one of the body’s responses to stress, along with increased heart rate, rapid breathing, headaches, nausea, and muscle tension. This hormone spikes when the body senses a threat. It can be something as minor as getting a call from an unknown number, or something more serious, like having a heated discussion with a co-worker. Whatever the cause, the body’s response is the same.
According to the American Psychological Association, when you experience chronic stress, your cortisol levels stay elevated. This increases your risk of health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
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You can combat the effects of stress by maintaining a healthy diet and getting and exercise. Having a trusted social support group and talking to a mental health specialist can also help you sort things out and develop strategies for coping.