Have you ever noticed how those maddening breakouts tend to coincide with your next important meeting or greatly anticipated social do? Although the toll of stress on heart health is widely acknowledged, those rushes of cortisol are also affecting our skin.
The American Association of Dermatology (AAD) explains stress can ‘manifest itself on one’s appearance,’ by irritating psoriasis or rosacea, accelerating ageing and raising the ugly heads of acne lesions, all the while fuelling skin concerns to become more inflamed and more difficult to manage.
The physiological effects of stress are to blame for this exasperating reaction. By dehydrating the skin and impairing its natural barrier, stress allows irritants, allergens and infectious agents to penetrate the dermal layer and reap havoc on your appearance.
More specifically, a stress response will see your adrenal gland release a cocktail of hormones that manipulate blood pressure, widen blood vessels and shoot pro-inflammatory chemicals through your body. These inhibit your natural ability to counter skin problems and will result in increased blushing and flushing.
Toting the importance of treating ‘stress and skin’ together, the AAD suggests the two components irrefutably reflect each other in a cyclic relationship and should be jointly considered in skin management.
For example, as stress levels decline, so too does the tendency to neglect your skin regime or release your frustration upon that unforgivingly placed pimple. Similarly, skin rejuvenation procedures are a viable way to improve skin appearance, yet they also boost confidence and offer an opportunity to relax – a combination of factors that see you floating out of the salon feeling your most attractive.
The importance of anti-wrinkle injections
Interestingly, a study by Dr Richard G. Fried delved into the ‘emotional and functional outcomes’ of anti-wrinkle injections and discovered the injections are much more than an aesthetic luxury.
In improving self-confidence, initiating positive feedback regarding appearance and allowing for increased ‘marketability’ in the workplace, Dr Fried argues improving your appearance using anti-wrinkle injections will also enhance your emotional and functional state.
In figures, Dr Fried found 29 per cent of anti-wrinkle recipients reported feeling less anxious, 36 per cent more relaxed and 49 per cent more optimistic. Clearly the relationship between stress and skin is cyclic and powerful. It manifests itself both physiologically and psychologically, compounding the necessity to take time and de-stress yourself – if only for appearance’s sake.