It would certainly seem true that when you’re stressed, your skin shows it by the development of a large pimple in a most undesirable location (read “Does Stress Cause Acne?“), a new patch of eczema springing up, and the flaring up of your rosacea, right?
Scientific research has yet to confirm – until now.
“Board-certified dermatologist Richard D. Granstein, MD, FAAD, the George W. Hambrick Jr., professor and chairman of the department of dermatology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York … said experimental data support the idea that the nervous system and stress affect inflammatory skin conditions in humans. Many types of cells in the skin, including immune cells and endothelial cells (cells that line blood vessels), can be regulated by neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, which are chemicals released by the skin’s nerve endings. Stress can result in the skin’s nerve endings releasing an increased level of these chemicals. When this occurs, it can affect how and at what level our body responds to many important functions, such as sensation and control of blood flow, and can contribute to the symptoms of stress that we feel. In addition, the release of these chemicals can lead to inflammation of the skin.”
Interestingly, there has been research showing that mice produce skin cancers more frequently when stressed. Those all important neuropeptides and neurotransmitters can wreak quite a bit of havoc on your skin, and other organs. I believe we will see more information coming in the future correlating the imbalance of these neurochemicals to mental health and other diseases.
How we deal with stress, the length of time we are facing stress-filled situations, and the way we process and manage it is very important to our overall health. Learning mindfulness and stress reduction techniques such as controlled breathing, imagery, regular exercise, healthy eating, expressing gratitude and meditation are helpful ways to counter stress in our day to day lives.