The effects of stress on your appearance

young woman looking upset with fingers on face

If emotions are powerful, consider stress the evil leader. Stress can have a major negative impact on your health, as the chemicals it releases in your body are tied to many serious diseases. When you’re feeling this way, it’s often evident in the way you look. Follow this guide to learn some of the ways stress negatively affects your appearance.

Anyone who has undergone stress and also noticed more hair loss than normal isn’t just imagining things. When you’re stressed about work or family, your body interprets it as a threat to its well-being and responds with the notorious fight-or-flight phenomenon.

In this kind of “life threatening” situation, your body prioritizes certain bodily systems that can help you run faster, fight harder and act quicker. On the other hand, it doesn’t see hair growth as an essential process to staying alive, so the appearance of your hair can suffer as a result. Your hair may shed faster, look dull and become weaker than normal.

Stress can cause acne breakouts.Stress can cause acne breakouts.

After a late night preparing for an important meeting, you might wake up to new pimples or an aggravated skin issue. It may seem like nonsense your mother told you so you would stop worrying, but stress really does have a large effect on your skin.

“It’s been known for a long time that the nervous system, which processes our stress, has an impact on conditions such as psoriasis,” board-certified dermatologist Richard D. Granstein, MD, FAAD, said in a press release.

Psoriasis and other skin issues like eczema, rosacea and acne are also worsened by stress and can result in greater, more frequent breakouts. Oftentimes, the effects of stress turn into a vicious cycle of outbreaks, stress as a result of the outbreaks and so on.

Not only does stress aggravate pre-existing skin conditions and cause acne breakouts, but it can also make you look older than you really are. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery explained that stress produces adrenaline and cortisol, which then signal the body to free sugar molecules that will supply you with the energy needed to fight off the “threat.” These molecules wind up stiffening the collagen in your skin and face, leaving you with a harder, dull complexion. This can also lead to wrinkles and skin that appears sunken in.

“Cortisol has been linked to obesity.”

Cortisol, the stress hormone, has been linked to obesity in children and adults. It’s no wonder, then, that you might notice some additional flab when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed – and those extra fat cells only add to the feeling of stress and anxiety. It’s one reason why it’s so important to participate in physical activity even if it seems as though you can’t fit it into your schedule. Regular exercise can relieve stress, tone muscles and improve your health, both physically and mentally.

How to reverse the effects
Stopping stress before it has a chance to affect your appearance is key, but not always practical. After all, if it was that easy to stop worrying, nobody would experience stress in the first place. It’s a good idea to try yoga, meditation and other physical activities that help you burn off steam and focus on the present, but there are some other things you can do to treat the signs of stress in the meantime.

For starters, dermal fillers can help restore the plump look that your face loses over time as a result of natural aging and stress. You can also seek CoolSculpting® treatments to remove fat cells once and for all from some of your most relentless trouble areas, like the stomach, love handles and thighs.