The American Academy of Dermatology recently reported on a connection that many of us have known through observation for a long time: that stress can wreak havoc on the skin, triggering or exacerbating such conditions as acne and psoriasis.
This emphasises the assertion that for a truly effective skin care plan, stress management must be on the list.
According to Dr. Richard D. Granstein, a board certified dermatologist, professor and department of dermatology chairman at Weill Cornell Medical College, “it’s been known for a long time that the nervous system, which processes our stress, has an impact on conditions such as psoriasis.” Acne and rosacea are also implicated as being closely tied to stress levels.
Dr. Granstein explains that when we experience stress, the nerve endings in our skin release increased amounts of certain neurotransmitters, which can lead to inflammation in the skin. He points to a study performed in Japan, in which mice prone to a certain type of inflammatory rash were exposed to stress. Results showed that the stressed mice developed the rash, while the control group of mice, who were not stressed, did not.
Beyond inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and rosacea, which while unsightly are not inherently dangerous, stress has even been linked by some research to quicker development of skin cancer. Dr. Granstein says, “when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, stressed mice developed skin cancers more quickly than mice that were not exposed to stress.”
As we previously reported, stress has also been linked to dull, dry skin and accelerated aging. The connection between stress and acne, as well as other skin conditions, may have much to do with cortisol, a hormone that becomes elevated when the body is stressed. High cortisol levels not only trigger inflammation, they can also lead the skin to produce more oil, creating an optimal condition for pimples to spring up.
To keep your skin looking young and healthy, and for the overall health of your body and mind, stress control is essential. Simply getting half an hour of moderate exercise each day can do wonders, as the endorphins that it releases both provide you with energy and calm your nerves.
Practices such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga have also been found to be highly effective. Making sure that you get at least seven or eight hours of quality sleep each night is also key.
Along with keeping your stress in check, eating antioxidant-rich foods, and staying away from processed food items, is important to keeping your skin healthy. Also, check out our guide to natural healthy skin remedies, which work both internally and externally to keep your skin clear and glowing.
Just remember: if you do not take steps to alleviate your stress, any skin remedy will likely not be as effective. Getting yourself to a relaxed and centered state of mind is absolutely essential.
-The Alternative Daily