Is Stress Affecting Your Skin And Hair?

. 4 min read

In a chaotic world of demanding work hours and hectic personal lives, it’s hard not to feel pressured into giving your best in everything. Stress is a part of our lives, but it doesn’t have to take over. The first step is identifying that you might be stressed and then address it in a healthy manner.

Stress can cause many health concerns from affecting your heart and blood pressure to your skin and hair. Your mental health is as important as your physical health - they don’t say ‘mind over matter’ for nothing. Presence of mind can help you achieve a lot more with fewer health concerns as barriers. Most of us don’t pay attention to how much stress can affect us negatively, so let's shed some light on the dermatological effects of stress on our bodies.

How can stress affect your skin?
Stress affects the natural chemistry of your body causing a chemical response - this puts your body off-balance. When you are stressed out, your skin not only becomes more sensitive to outside triggers such as weather or minor trauma but becomes more reactive as well. This makes it harder for your body to heal itself from any harm caused to it - even the minor cuts and scrapes.

If you have acne-prone skin, you may have noticed that during stressful phases your skin tends to break out a lot more. The reason behind this is because stress causes an increase in cortisol levels, a hormone in the body. Cortisol tells the glands in your skin to increase oil production and oily skin is very prone to acne.

Along with worsening acne, stress can also aggravate skin problems such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. We understand that having skin condition itself can trigger stress and cause insecurities. The reality of this is that skin conditions such as the ones mentioned above can be treated.

A common problem is that when we are stressed out, we forget to follow our routines - skin-care routines being one of them. Stress causes sleepiness, restlessness, headaches, among many other things resulting in us skipping out on most of our routines. This can further worsen your skin concerns!

Stressing about an ailment does not help you heal, rather, it could worsen it. Our advice is to consult a dermatologist and do not self-diagnose or self-medicate. Picking and choosing medications that have generally helped others can put unneeded stress on your body which can further aggravate your already existing condition.

Besides seeking treatment for your skin concerns - we suggest that you understand how to handle stress. Here are a few you can get started with:
Do not skip out on your skin routine: Neglecting your skin isn’t a good idea, try to take care of it even if your tired or stressed. A spa day might make you feel a lot more relaxed, don’t you think?

Pro Tip: Keep up with your exercise regimen. Prioritize yourself - Take a few minutes a day and something that calms your nerves, even if it is for a short while.

How can stress affect your hair?
Stress is known to cause hair loss due to many reasons; one of which is the increase of adrenaline which causes an increase in cholesterol with increases the level of testosterone in your body - all of these are hormones. Testosterone is an androgen, a male hormone, that affects hair growth and can cause hair thinning or hair loss.

An important factor to keep in mind is that stress causes to neglect our health - an example would be skipped meals or eating junk food. This results in us receiving less nutrition than our body needs! Diet has a huge effect on hair growth and improper nutrition can cause hair loss, especially in women. How can you control hair fall with your diet, you ask? We have just the thing for you, read our blog on how these 5 foods can control your hair fall. Imbalances in vitamins, deficiency in iron, less protein and calories can all affect hair growth negatively.

It is widely known that stress can affect your immune system leading you to be much more vulnerable to falling ill. Illnesses like the flu and high fever can trigger hair loss! Not to mention stress can even trigger dandruff to vulnerable individuals - dry/itchy scalp can lead to or aggravate hair loss. It’s a vicious cycle! To learn about the different types of hair loss and how they can be treated, you can read one of our informative blogs on understanding hair fall .

There are three different types of hair loss that are highly associated with increased stress levels:

Telogen effluvium: Stress can cause hair follicles to be pushed to the ‘resting phase’ and in a few months, a simple comb through your hair can cause hair to fall out.
Trichotillomania: This is defined as an urge to pull your hair out from your scalp and other parts of your body. This is deeply associated with negative feelings such as stress, frustration, and tension.
Alopecia areata Your own body’s immune system attacks your hair follicles causing hair loss.
To understand the phases of how your hair growth and falls, check out our blog on the cycle of the human hair where the phases of hair have been explained in detail.

If you’re suffering from any sort of sudden hair loss that seems to be unusual to you, do talk to a dermatologist as soon as possible. Sudden hair loss is not a good sign and can be the symptom of an underlying medical condition that could require treatment.

A simple change of habits and routines to handle your stress can significantly help your skin, hair and health overall! We have a few more tips for you to implement to help you relax. We are sure you have heard of these before, but have you actually done them?

Pro Tip: Try some stress management techniques such as simple breathing exercises, meditation and yoga.

Remedico's dermatologists can be at your service from the comfort of your own home, college or workplace - no appointments necessary. Fill up a questionnaire online, upload pictures of your condition and our dermatologist will send you a treatment plan along with options of other treatments require to help your skin condition and general lifestyle advice. In 24 hours, you will have solution right in your email.