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Published on December 6, 2019

Can Stress Cause Skin Problems?

By Marina

Have you ever noticed the correlation between your emotional state and the condition of your skin?

When you are on a relaxing vacation your skin gets a distinct glow. That glow has nothing to do with your new tan, it is coming from within.  You look healthy and beautiful.

On the other hand, when you are stressed and tired your skin starts to give you attitude. It may manifest in breakouts, rushes or dullness, even though you doubled up on your moisturizer.

How does this correlation work?

To begin answering this question in simple terms, we should first remember that every cell in the human body contains all of the genes capable of forming a human being. The same is true of the cells in a developing human body, especially if you go back to the very start of an embryo’s life.

In the initial stage of human embryo development, the embryo has three primary germ layers:

  • Ectoderm, the most exterior layer,  
  • mesoderm, the middle layer, 
  • and endoderm, the deepest layer.

Ectoderm emerges and originates from the outer layer of germ cells. The word ectoderm comes from the Greek ektos meaning “outside”, and derma, meaning “skin.” Amazingly, ectoderm differentiates to form the nervous system (spine, peripheral nerves and brain), and the epidermis (the outer part of the skin).

Basically, your brain and your skin are directly related on a cellular level. Whatever affects your brain and nervous system, also affects your skin.

In addition to skin cells and nervous system cells being “sisters”, stress affects our body on a chemical level.

Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against predators and other aggressors. When our ancient relatives were running away from the sabre tooth tiger, this hormonal response was very helpful. Such threats are rare today, but that doesn’t mean that life is free of stress. On the contrary, your boss may not look like sabre tooth tiger, but he undoubtedly wins when it comes to the amount of stress he unleashes on you daily. 

Now factor in demands of paying your mortgage, a huge workload, road rage, and caring for your parents and kids and here we go, your life in the 21st century is more stressful than your ancestors. 

When we encounter a perceived threat through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, our nervous system prompts your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose.

Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear.

 Let’s take a moment and explore that further

When you are under continuous stress your immune system is weakened, your sensitivity to allergens and other irritants is increased, your digestive system is suppressed. That means your body doesn’t get enough nutrients or oxygen, therefore your growth process and cell reproduction are almost non-existent. Good buy cell rejuvenation!

This puts you at an increased risk of many health problems, including: Anxiety, Depression, Digestive problems, Headaches, Heart disease, Sleep problems, Weight gain, Memory and Concentration impairment.


Still expecting your skin to glow? Really?

Incorporate Stress Management strategies into your skin routine:

  • Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise and plenty of sleep
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing. Get a massage or meditate
  • Take time for hobbies, such as reading or listening to music 
  • Foster healthy friendships
  • Have a sense of humour
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Seek professional counselling

We all seek to live longer and healthier lives. The foundation of having beautiful skin lies within your mental and physical health.  It requires commitment, discipline and self-love – and your inner glow will shine through. Let’s work together to achieve complete beauty in and out