Stress manifests in your body in many ways. You may be clenching your muscles, grinding your teeth, or stiffening your shoulders in response to life’s daily stressors. Taking a moment to relax and recognize these signs is a great way to alleviate the immediate effects. Unfortunately, though, stress can have long-term effects that aren’t so easy to eliminate. Skin problems are one of these issues, and in fact, stress can show itself on your skin in many ways. Watch out for these top five ways your skin indicates stress and find out what you can do to address the problem.
Fine Lines — Does Your Face Look Like a Road Map?
- Reduced collagen. If you’ve noticed that your face is displaying more fine lines than it used to — to the point that you’re starting to look like a road map — stress may be to blame. This problem can be caused by a reduction of collagen in the skin — and the stress hormone cortisol can cause reduced collagen. This is because excess cortisol prompts your body to derive energy from amino acids, so the amino acids that would usually build collagen become depleted.
- Lines from frowning. It’s also possible that you’re seeing an increase in fine lines because of the facial expressions that stress inspires. If you’re constantly furrowing your brow, frowning, or otherwise reacting to stress with your face, repeating these movements can eventually lead to permanent lines. You may be able to mitigate some of the effects, though, with a niacinamide skincare product. Niacinamide combats fine lines by repairing the top layer of the skin.
- Changes in skin proteins. There are many proteins in your skin that support its health and function, including the aforementioned collagen. When you’re subjected to stress in a long-term scenario, it can alter these proteins and cause your skin to lose elasticity. In addition to depleting your body’s supply of amino acids, cortisol can actively inhibit the synthesis of new collagen proteins, making it easy for fine lines to start appearing on your skin. An azelaic acid cream may be able to help treat this problem by restoring moisture to your skin. There are also modern ways of reducing lines like diode laser technology and microneedling, among other new technologies.
Acne Is Back in Full Effect
- Increased oil production. Cortisol plays an important physiological function in your body, but when it comes to your skin, it might be your worst enemy. In addition to encouraging the appearance of fine lines, cortisol causes increased oil production — which, in turn, can cause increased acne. If you’ve noticed that your face is shinier than usual or you have whiteheads appearing suddenly, these are signs you might be more stressed out than you realize.
- Increased production of androgens. Cortisol isn’t the only hormone your body produces in response to stress. It may also increase the production of androgens. An increase in androgens can result in increased acne, too — especially cystic acne along the jawline and on the neck. It may also trigger hair loss in women, but hair vitamins for hair growth can mitigate this issue.