Your skin is your body’s largest and most visible organ. External skin issues can be indicative of deeper issues underneath your skin. Skincare and self-care come hand in hand, and if you think the issues on your skin’s surface are only surface level, then you’re only scratching the surface of understanding them.
A wide range of physical and emotional stressors, perhaps even more than you might realize, are linked to skin damage and dermatological conditions. One ScienceDirect survey approximates that anywhere from 25-30% of all dermatology patients are believed to have a mental health condition linked (either directly or indirectly) to their skin condition.
The bottom line is that if you think skin irritation, soreness, and stress on the outside aren’t indicative of deeper stressors on the inside, you would be sorely, sorely mistaken, no pun intended. Here’s how stress issues feed into skin issues, and what can be done about those issues.
Inflammation And Skin Stress
One common way mental stressors can begin to manifest as physical stressors is in the form of skin inflammation. A comprehensive study, published in the Archives of Dermatological Research, found that social anxiety and generalized anxiety can actually weaken the integrity of your skin. In turn, this can lead to skin inflammation, which in turn, can lead to a number of dermatological conditions, such as:
To eliminate the issues associated with stress-related inflammation, you should first identify the root problem or problems triggering the stress in the first place. This process can be tricky and difficult, but a therapist can help you get to the bottom of the root causes.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one of the most common physical stressors on the skin, and is potentially carcinogenic over the long term. Overexposure can lead to blemishes and moles in the short term, and then potentially, even skin cancer in the long term.
A simple application of sunscreen can go a long way to mitigate the risk of UV-radiation skin stress. Besides sunscreen, you might also want to consider strengthening your skin health through a number of other natural remedies:
- Vitamin C
- Fruits rich in all of the above!
Treat these as supplemental-relief options, not cure-alls. Supplements or not, one should still regularly apply sunscreen when outdoors in warmer weather months, to fully protect their skin from carcinogenic, UV-ray, free radical damage.
Acne, Scarring, Oil Production
Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances, which can subsequently lead to increased oil production in the skin, which can subsequently lead to an increased risk of forming pimples, zits, and dreaded acne. Is it really all that much of a coincidence that 80% of acne vulgaris patients (according to Dovepress) are 11-30-year-old adolescents and young adults?
Middle school, high school, and college can all be considerably stressful times. If young people are unable to effectively manage and mitigate that stress with effective coping strategies, they are especially vulnerable to being overwhelmed and especially vulnerable to developing acne.
Acne can be very problematic to people’s self-image. Fortunately, there are plenty of stress-relieving solutions, spot skin care products, and topical skin care solutions that make acne scarring a very treatable, manageable problem in most cases.
The Great Recession(s)
We’ve already alluded to stress-related issues weakening and compromising the integrity of the skin, but what exactly does that look like? Believe it or not, stress-related skin issues don’t just encompass the skin; stress (as well as it's triggering hormone, cortisol) can worsen hair pulling, which can worsen hair loss.
Stress can also worsen anxious behaviors like nail biting and skin peeling, and the stress hormone cortisol is actually directly linked to the breakdown of dermal proteins, according to PubMed. At its most extreme, this cortisol weakening in the skin can lead to a weakening of the immune system, which can increase the risk of infections and illness.
If you suspect that you’re suffering from a serious, cortisol-driven illness, notify your primary care physician right away.
Fine Lines, Wrinkles, And Eye Bags
Exhausted, sleep-deprived eyes can lead to exhausted-looking dark circles under your eyes, around the orbital skin. Stress can also make itself known on the skin through fine lines and facial wrinkling.
Deploying unconventional solutions, from face yoga exercises to chilled jade rollers, can stimulate the lymphatic system to reduce puffiness and visible damage to the skin. Furthermore, simple face yoga exercises can do a lot to ease tension in your facial muscles and counter the development of wrinkles.
Delayed Wound Healing
A weakened epidermis doesn’t only weaken and slow down the immune system’s response to fighting infections; it also slows down the skin’s natural ability to heal wounds, scars, and cuts over time.
Keeping your skin hydrated will speed along this process, as well as identifying and addressing the root stressors worsening your skin issues in the first place.
Addressing these issues doesn’t have to start at the hospital or even at the urgent care center - you may be able to begin addressing them from home!
Find Stress-Relieving Solutions With Sesame
Whether you need to connect with a dermatology doctor remotely, a pharmacist who can send skin care medicine to your door, or a therapist who can identify the underlying root stressors worsening your skin, Sesame Care has you covered!
Read our provider review to learn more about what Sesame has to offer you and your skin, and if you want to move forward, you can get started using Sesame for 15% off by using the Sesame Care promo code "SESAME15"!