What are the effects of stress on the skin?

Prolonged stress often causes a number of negative conditions for those who suffer from it, such as sleep problems, fatigue, mood swings, concentration problems, and even certain skin conditions.

Among the effects of stress on the skin we can find various signs such as the appearance of premature wrinkles, sagging skin, the appearance of skin spots, the appearance of itching, etc., and certain dermatological diseases can also develop. because of stress. other reasons, some of which are psoriasis, certain types of dermatitis, etc.

In this article we will talk about the effects of stress on the skin and we will also explain some advice in order to take a series of measures that could help to alleviate, as far as possible, the conditions caused by stress; professional help is recommended in these cases.

    Main effects of stress on the skin

    Prolonged stress can cause severe damage to the immune systemit will therefore not work properly, so the pH of the skin can be altered, causing a wide variety of dermatological signs.

    The most common signs that show the effects of stress on the skin are those listed below, and some or all of them may occur at the same time:

    • Loose skin.

    • A loss of skin elasticity.

    • Premature wrinkles.

    • Spots on the skin, blackheads or even pimples.

    • Seemingly dull skin; matte or gray in appearance, no shine.

    • Dehydrated, dry or oily skin may appear in some cases.

    • Rough or even uneven skin.

    • Itching may appear, causing tingling or irritation and the urge to scratch in that area.

    • Skin that reddens following a simple scratch in an area where itching appears.

    • Dark circles and puffiness when stress is prolonged and causes insomnia problems.

    • Condition of the scalp, causing more hair loss.

    • Desquamation on the skin.

    • You may be interested: “The 24 skin pathologies: characteristics and how to recognize them”

    Dermatological diseases that can present stress problems

    In addition to the signs that can occur at the dermatological level due to a high level of stress for a long time, certain dermatological diseases could also be triggered like the ones we’ll talk about below.

    1. Excoriation

    One of the effects of stress on the skin is the abrasions that develop when a person, in stressful times and situations, He tends to scratch the skin in certain areas of the body compulsivelypruritus, causing irritation and tingling in this place, so it will sting more in this place and you will want to scratch even more, thus generating a vicious cycle which could last a long time.

      2. Seborrheic dermatitis

      Another of the effects of stress on the skin could be the development of seborrheic dermatitis, a dermatological disease that It tends to appear at times when a person is suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety (for example, when a student is in exam period, when a person is overloaded with work more than usual, etc.).

      3. Atopic dermatitis

      Atopic dermatitis has also been found in several patients who suffered from prolonged stress, so this would be another of the effects of stress on the skin. This type of dermatitis tends to develop due to various factors such as dehydration, infections, excessive sweating in certain areas, by certain irritants that have come into contact with the skin, by environmental factors… However, There is also a relationship between the appearance of this dermatological disease and prolonged stress.

      In these cases, as in the case of excoriation chaos, there can also be a vicious cycle between the development of itching, which causes itching, and scratching, so that the disease can worsen and develop a series more serious complications.

        4. Acne

        Among the effects of stress on the skin, we also find the appearance of acne, which consists of appearance of pimples or pimples on the skin in various areas such as the face, back…

        Although acne can be caused by a variety of factors, there is no single cause, and a close relationship has been found between this dermatological disease and stress, and it is usually not a serious skin condition. .

        5. Psoriasis

        Psoriasis can also be part of the effects of stress on the skin and consist of the development of an acceleration of the cell life cycleso that they die prematurely, so that red spots and scales form on the surface of the skin, causing intense itching and can even cause pain.

        This dermatological disease tends to be chronic and episodic, so it can disappear over a period of time and reappear when the person regains their stress.

          6. Hair loss

          In this series of stress effects on the skin that can appear, there is also possible hair loss in certain very specific areas of the scalp, referred to in these cases as stop alopecia. It is a type of autoimmune disease that develops when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy hair follicles.

          Note that alopecia it is linked to a genetic predisposition, when there is a family history of this condition; however, there is also a very close relationship between more aggressive than normal hair loss and prolonged stress; being in these cases also known this condition as alopecia nervosa.

          Psychological treatments and techniques against stress

          Once we have seen the effects of stress on the skin, it is advisable to know some treatments and psychological techniques that can be used, in combination with the recommendations of a dermatologist to alleviate the signs produced at the dermatological level when a person suffers from prolonged stress. . , causing various problems, including certain dermatological conditions.

          1. Recommended behaviors and habits in the face of stress

          When a person suffers from one of the possible effects of stress on the skin such as those we have just mentioned in this article, the first thing they must do is develop a series of behaviors that allow them to manage well. stress and taking good care of your skin. If it does not improve, You should seek professional help; both a dermatologist to properly treat skin conditions and a psychologist who can help you deal with stress and possible behaviors and thoughts that could have a negative impact.

          Regarding general recommendations and routines that can help relieve this type of skin conditionthe averages that a person who suffers from any type of skin condition caused by stress can begin to achieve are the following:

          • Eat a healthy diet that does not lack essential nutrients and drink enough water to stay hydrated.
          • Keep the skin hydrated.
          • Use creams that can help keep your skin in good condition.
          • Regular exercise; as it has been shown to help control stress levels.
          • Maintain good sleep and rest habits (regular rest schedules, sleep hygiene, etc.).
          • Do enjoyable activities.
          • Set limits, learn to say no when you exceed your own possibilities.
          • Practice stress management techniques (meditation, mindfulness exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, etc.).
          • Maintain healthy relationships.
          • Maintain an active social life.
          • Manage the workload properly and don’t bring work home.
          • Don’t be too demanding.
          • Acquire the habit to walk and, if possible, take a getaway in the natural environment.
          • Talk to someone you trust who can help you in times of stress.
          • Seek professional help if necessary.

          In addition to all the actions mentioned above, it would be advisable to seek professional help; A dermatologist can help treat skin conditions to control signs, and a psychologist can help control stress.

          2. Psychological treatment of stress

          There are different psychological treatments to treat stress, and in this sense “Present-centered therapy” (TCP) is remarkable. This psychological therapy can help in addition to the measures recommended by a dermatologist in order to lessen the effects of stress on the skin and other conditions that can result from it. The main objective of this therapy is that the patient can understand how stress has come to harm him at different levels, both in the field of health and in personal experiences (for example, at work, in family, etc. ).

          This psychological treatment as well incorporates a number of techniques such as cognitive restructuring dealing with misconceptions that can worsen stress levels and behavioral activation techniques, among others.

          Another of the most important goals is for the patient to develop the habit of focusing on the here and now so that he can focus on his emotional states so that he can identify them correctly and talk about them in therapy, as well only so that you learn to tolerate stressful states and therefore do not look for loopholes that could worsen stress levels.

          Bibliographic references

          • Friend, I. (2020). Handbook of Health Psychology. Madrid: Ediciones Pyramid.
          • Echeburúa, E. and Amor, PJ (2020). Disorders associated with trauma and stressors. In A. Belloch, B. Sandin and F. Ramos (Coords.). Handbook of Psychopathology: Volume II (pp.109-133). Madrid: McGraw Hill.
          • Gracia, MJ and Ruiz, S. (2001). Stress, quality of life and psoriasis: current situation. Biological Psychiatry, 8(4), pp.141-145.
          • Grimalt, T. et al. (2002). Dermatology and psychiatry: commented clinical histories. Madrid: Aula Medica Ediciones.
          • Pastor, JM and García-Dantas, A. (2021). Psychological treatments for disorders specifically associated with stress. In E. Fonseca (Coord.). Manual of Psychological Treatment: Adults (pp. 411-435). Madrid: Ediciones Pyramid.
          • Roberts, A. (2020). The great book of the human body. Madrid: Editorial DK Spain.
          • Sandin, B. (2020). Stress. In A. Belloch, B. Sandin and F. Ramos (Coords.). Handbook of Psychopathology: Volume I (pp. 371-412). Madrid: McGraw Hill.
          • Tribo, MJ (2006). Reasons for being and usefulness of psychodermatology. Piel, 21, p. 51-53.

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