How Stress Affects The Skin


Stress is not just a bothersome consequence of everyday life; it is also a major health and beauty ravager. Skin reflects the health of the body and stress plays an impactful role.

Eating and sleeping habits, anxiety, and increased alcohol consumption can all lead to skin health impairment. The pathogenic link between chronic stress and the exacerbation of disease has been confirmed for many years, especially in the cases of acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea and signs of aging.

Stress causes the release of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. Increased cortisol triggers an elevation in blood sugar through glycation, damaging collagen and elastin. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (hormone), which causes excess thinning of the skin, poor wound healing and increased susceptibility to infection.

Stress has been shown to have a negative effect on the barrier function of the skin, resulting in TEWL (transepidermal water loss) and inhibits the skin’s ability to heal itself after injury. Stress cumulatively damages aging tissue.

Chronic psychological stress accelerates the pituitary and adrenal glands, the nervous system, and the system that regulates blood pressure, renin-angiotensin, causing an increased production of reactive oxygen species and DNA damage. DNA has sections called telomeres, which stop DNA from fraying. When telomeres become short, cells become damaged and die, resulting in aging. People with the most stress have the shortest telomeres.

Prostaglandin controls the body’s nervous system and skin immunity functions. When clients are placed under increased stress, they place a high demand on their prostaglandin system. This demand causes a breakdown and loss of essential fatty acids, which, in turn, cause skin dryness, irritation, rosacea and eczema. By leaving the secondary skin immunity suffering, the skin becomes more sensitive, reacts to products, and may have an acute flair up of dermatitis, or even fever blisters.

Stress can cause and acne causes stress

An increase in stress strongly correlates with an increase in acne severity. An example of this – college students experience increases in acne lesions during exam time. There are several processes that occur during stress that exacerbate acne vulgaris. As mentioned above, cortisol is a glucocorticoid. These and adrenal androgens – both which are elevated during times of stress – are hormones known to worsen acne and may induce sebaceous hyperplasia. Wound healing is greatly impaired during prolonged psychological stress, which is a significant factor in slowing the repair of acne lesions.

What Estheticians Can Do

Have your clients use homecare products with active ingredients. These products should include ingredients that reduce and prevent inflammation, are potent antioxidants, increase wound healing and stimulate DNA repair. Some to look for are Vitamin A & C, zinc, turmeric, beta glucan and sunflower and safflower oils.Encourage your clients to engage in some form of physical activity on a regular basis.

In addition to reducing stress, physical activity allows stress hormones to be disbanded or expelled so that they are not swimming around in the bloodstream, damaging strands of DNA. Yoga, in particular, is very beneficial.Create a sanctuary in the spa, a safe and tranquil place where your clients can unwind. Consider integrating treatments such as aromatherapy, after proper training and certification, into your practice.

Stay centered, focused and intentional. Even in acne treatments, in which extractions take place, incorporate a hand, arm or scalp massage. Remind clients of the importance of a clean and healthy diet with plenty of foods known to offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

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