Stress and anxiety can creep up on us without much warning. In this age of social media, media coverage of horrible events, and where employees are getting minimal downtime, stress is at an all-time high. In countries where employment rates are high and the poverty level also being high, the situation is even worse. Stress can come from many aspects of life and can take many forms such as; financial stress, health-related stress, marital issues, stress caused by political unrest in the country, etc.
When it comes to our own health, stress can not only cause disease but worsen underlying conditions as well. It has been shown that stress can cause exacerbation of symptoms in various diseases both physiological and psychological. For many diseases, it is proven that stressful events and stress, in general, can cause the disease to present itself more progressively. In this writing, we will discuss some skin related conditions that are worsened by stress.
Psoriasis, a dermatological condition manifested by dry scaly patches of skin, usually around the scalp, lower limbs and arms, being one of the skin conditions shown to worsen with stress. Psoriasis said to be mainly due to genetics, usually presents with psoriatic arthritis at more progressive stages, which can be painful.
Some simple ways patients can improve their condition by trying to keep stress out of their lives by exercising more, eating a balanced filled with vitamins, especially Vitamin D, A, E, K, B and C which may be low in many with this condition. Omega 3 fatty acids also show benefit in cardiac and joint health. Alternative stress-relieving methods such as meditation, prayer, or even Yoga can help reduce stress and enable a person to regain focus and take the necessary steps in the right direction.
Stress can cause one to look older than they really are. Acne flareups can occur and cause spotting once they subside, leaving the skin with dark spots and other visible imperfections while hair loss can lead to premature balding and thin hair. Stress can also cause one’s immunity expressed by recurrent flu.
The bodies fight or flight response is a brilliant innate defense mechanism, but once this system is triggered constantly a flood of stress hormones i.e. Cortisol, adrenaline, catecholamines, are present in the bloodstream causing deleterious effects on different organ systems. The chronicity inactivation of this system, along with other reasons, has been attributed to pathology in different anxiety-related conditions.
So, from many of the literature out there, a cyclical correlation can be deduced. Stress can cause a rise in symptomatology in various skin conditions, only to cause more stress as instances of social avoidance and anxiety increase.
Ways to decrease stress
- Talk to a close person. Be it a friend or family. Sometimes just expressing our feelings or some of our frustrations verbally through conversation with a loved one can come with it a wave of relief. If you feel you have no one to talk to, then online platforms are available where you can talk to a person or even an AI.
- Meditation and Prayer.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Avoid stressors and stressful situations.
- Medical professionals are always there to help you if need be.