It has been said that the story of a person’s life can be seen etched into the lines, curves and composition of the face. Stress can be a prolific author of your facial character, leaving its own deep mark on the health and appearance of your complexion.
Here, experienced Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Charles S. Lee, MD explains how stress afflicts your skin, and suggests ways to counter this destructive force.
Fight or Flight
Stress puts your body on a defensive posture, triggering the fight-or-flight response that taxes your system in so many ways. The best strategy for countering the effects of stress is to learn how to properly manage the challenges of daily life. Practicing relaxation techniques, building downtime into your schedule, eating healthfully, exercising and getting sufficient sleep are all important ways to relieve the pressure on mind and body, including your skin.
In extreme cases, stress can cause serious conditions that require medical intervention, such as autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, hives or fever blisters. Stress can turn the occasional breakout into severe acne, and affect your skin’s tone and texture.
Stressed-out skin often has an unhealthy, pallid look, and may appear dry and flaky. Much of this is caused internally, by free radicals that thrive in stressful environments. But sometimes it is your own reaction to stress that damages your skin. For example, when stress causes you to repeatedly grimace, furrow your brow, clench your jaw or purse your lips, you are slowly drawing fine lines across your face. A joyful look is usually rooted in a joyful outlook on life. Rarely does optimism generate unhealthy-looking skin and a stressed-out appearance.
Stress may also interfere with your sleep. If you let the day’s worries follow you to bed, you are unlikely to get a good night’s rest. Poor sleep can in create deep, dark bags under your eyes, adding years to your expression.
In addition to stress management, effective ways to defend your skin against chronic anxiety include drinking plenty of water throughout the day, cutting back on caffeine and consuming food and drinks that are rich in antioxidants. By substituting green tea for coffee, for example, you can boost antioxidants, avoid the jitters and improve the chances that you will sleep well at night.
To learn more about keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy, schedule a personal consultation with Charles S. Lee, MD, or contact the Beverly Hills office of Enhance® Medical Center today.