Skin blemishes can be caused by stress and other types of dermatological conditions: acne, eczema, urticaria, rosacea, psoriasis, alopecia (hair loss), vitiligo (white patches on the skin), trichotillomania And even self-mutilation disorders
When people experience stress in life, their skin becomes a reflection of stress. In fact, during development in the uterus, the brain and skin are derived from the same cells.
Stress or nerves can cause:
- Spots and rashes on the skin in general (in children and adults).
- Spots on the face.
- Stains on hands.
Studies show that at least 30% of patients who have dermatological problems also suffer from a psychological problem that is not being treated.
However, if these psychological problems are treated, the state of the skin can greatly improve.
Stress aggravates existing skin problems
The skin blemishes are the longest and most visible organ of the body, so it tends to register the effects of stress or nerves quickly.
If your skin and face tends to be dry, the stress makes it even drier. If you tend to develop blackheads, with stress they will become more visible.
Also Read: The 4 Major Stress Hormones
The same with acne: stress produces hormones like adrenaline that can alter the balance of other hormones in the body, worsening acne typical pimples.
What’s more, long-term stress decreases the production of collagen and elastin –
Fibers that give the skin its elasticity – leading to sagging.
In young people the skin retains the ability to recover, but the healing process slows down with age and, after 40, the effects of stress can be permanent.
A new field of study: psychodermatology
These effects, their causes and their treatments, are studied by the subfield of dermatology called psychodermatology.
Psychodermatology studies the impact of the emotions of people on the skin, thus integrating psychology, psychiatry and dermatology.
With this integrative approach other treatment possibilities are opened, including: antidepressants, psychotherapy, relaxation therapy … that can control and treat skin conditions.
The mind and skin are connected on several levels. Many nerve endings are connected to the skin.
In acne for example, when you are tense your body releases cortisol , a stress hormone that can increase the production of fat by the skin.
Other diseases of the skin, such as alopecia and vitiligo , can be triggered by an autoimmune reaction.
There are other cases in which serious mental illness can occur as skin diseases. For example: tearing your hair, biting your nails, tics…
Rash and itchy skin
Rashes, itchy skin and conditions such as eczema worsen under stress.
Because some people scratch themselves under stressful situations, they may develop rashes that worsen the situation.
In stressful situations, blood flow is diverted away from the skin to vital organs and this can aggravate existing allergies and eruptions.
Treatments of skin blemishes
If stress-related skin problems influence self-esteem and social relationships, it can lead to more serious problems, such as depression.
If there is depression, anxiety or other mental disorders, medication and cognitive behavioral therapy may be helpful.
The relaxation techniques and sport can also help reduce anxiety, stress and depression.
For example, activity levels, mood, and skin condition of children have been shown to improve after receiving massages.
Another way to control blemishes or other skin conditions is to control habits such as scratching. To do this, you need to be self-conscious and have alternative behaviors that can help.
- Each time you go scratching, take a pencil and write something.
- When you are going to eat your nails, take a pencil and write something.
To be more self-aware you can be helped by mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
Finally, diet is also important for improving the condition of the skin and avoiding the effect of stress hormones. Vitamins C and E act as antioxidants and prevent the destructive effect of free radicals in the body’s cells.
Stress in children
If a child has stress- related skin diseases, parents need to look at what kinds of stressful events their children are experiencing.
In childhood and adolescence school experiences and the social group are very important, so parents can focus on them.
If the skin problem occurs for a short period of time, there is not much to do. For example, develop more blemishes during an exam period.
However, if the stressor is chronic, it is necessary to try to resolve such a stressor. For example, having conflicting relationships in the family.
Some Ways to Reduce the Consequences of Stress on Your Skin
- Although it is impossible to avoid stress completely, there are some ways to control its negative effects on the skin.
- Exercise frequently. It will be good for your skin and the rest of your body.
- Take some time off to do something you like, even if you only have 10 minutes a day. Read a book you like or take a hot bath.
- Go for a walk.
- Take care of your skin, especially when you are tired or stressed.
- Practice stress management techniques such as yoga, relaxation techniques, progressive relaxation, meditation or visualization.
- Get enough sleep. The ideal is 8 hours a day.
- Learn to say no to have more time for yourself.
- Seek social support from friends, family, partner or professionals.