When we are stressed, the results of that stress can manifest in all kinds of ways. We might not sleep very well, we might not eat much (or we could eat too much of the wrong things), concentration will be affected, and our general mood will be low. However, more than this, when we are experiencing stress, our physical appearance can easily be affected too. The more stressed we are, the more likely it is that it will show up on our face, hair, and elsewhere. Here are some of the ways that stress can affect your appearance; if you notice any of these signs, it’s time to get yourself some help.
One of the most worrying signs that stress is affecting your physical appearance is thinning hair or even hair loss. When you are stressed, your hair moves from its growing phase to the end-stage (where it would naturally fall out) much more quickly, giving more hair little time to grow and therefore giving you the appearance of thinning or lost hair. Plus, some people develop other conditions such as trichotillomania (the compulsion to pull out your hair) or alopecia areata (which cases baldness) when they are stressed.
If you find that your hair is thinning or even that you are pulling your own hair out, stress could be the problem. Once you have dealt with the stress, you should visit a hair loss clinic to put things right again.
If you thought your days of acne breakouts were behind you once you left your hormonal teenager years, you might not have factored stress into the equation. Stress can lead to adult acne because it causes your body to release cortisol. Cortisol can cause problems with the other hormones in your body (meaning you feel down), but it also increases oil production in your skin, which causes spots. On top of this, stress can prevent the good bacteria in your gut from doing their job of protecting you, and more bad bacteria can thrive – the result of this is often acne.
Dry, Flaky Skin
Although we’ve just said that stress can cause your skin to become too oily and produce acne, conversely, stress can also cause your skin to become dry and flaky. That’s because stress can make you more dehydrated, and since the majority of people are chronically dehydrated without realizing it, that means you can become very unwell indeed when stressed. Your skin won’t be getting enough moisture, and therefore it will become much dryer than usual. You might notice dandruff, for example, or that you have dry patches on your face and arms.
We’ve all had a sleepless night before, and we’ve all seen the results the next morning; dark circles or perhaps even ‘bags’ under the eyes. With a little moisturizer and a good breakfast, as long as you are able to sleep the next night, this is usually a short-term issue. However, stress can make us chronically sleep-deprived, and those dark circles become much more long-term. The reason is that when you don’t sleep well, the area under the eyes begins to retain water. Over time, this can cause the skin to become thinner. Dark circles are much more easily seen.