Stress can affect us in a lot of ways – our quality of sleep, what we eat, and our overall mood and wellbeing – but what a lot of us don’t think about is how stress can actually affect our physical appearance. Stress-related acne breakouts, patchy hair loss, and dark circles under the eyes are all signs of a larger problem. Unfortunately, if you don’t minimize the strain, the effects of stress can often take a lasting toll on your face and hair.

So, for your own physical, mental, and emotional health – here are six arguments for taking a breather.

Thinning hair (or hair that falls out)

Stress causes your hair to go from the growing phase to the resting phase to the falling-out phase quicker, accelerating its natural cycle. It can trigger alopecia areata, which causes patches of baldness anywhere on the body, including on your head or even beard. If you are prone to it, stress can also trigger a condition called trichotillomania, which causes you to pluck out your hairs to the point of baldness. Pay close attention to your own responses to daily stress to keep this in check. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though: once the culprit of your hair loss is addressed and under control, your hair will return to its regular growing system and begin to grow and shed normally again. A quick scalp treatment can also mitigate the effects of short-term hair loss.

Acne

The skin is probably the part of your body that’s most easily affected by stress, regardless of what you’re prone to (acne, psoriasis, or eczema). Stress releases cortisol, which can throw off the other hormones in your body and increases oil production in your skin. Stress can also disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut, which can show up on your skin in the form of acne.

Dry, flaky skin

Most of us don’t drink enough water as it is; but being stressed can make chronic dehydration even worse. If you’re stressed, chances are you’re not drinking enough water – and you’re probably drinking coffee or soda to make up for lack of sleep. When your body doesn’t get the proper hydration it needs, your skin will end up feeling (and looking) like crepe paper. Cortisol can also hinder the skin’s elasticity and water retention, thus dehydrating your dermis even further. If you notice this becoming a problem, invest in a high-quality, extra-hydrating moisturizer.

For an immediate skin refresh, come in for a facial – deep exfoliation and instant hydration will do wonders for tired-out skin.

Dark circles or bags under the eyes

Chronic sleep deprivation causes fluid to pool below your lower eyelid area and tissue to retain excess moisture, creating a puffy disaster when you wake up. The skin around your eyes is much thinner than the rest of your body and gets progressively thinner as you age. This is essentially why strain shows more prominently on your face. A morning application of eye cream or serum is a quick fix, but don’t let it become a habit – the effects can be irreversible.

Fine lines and wrinkles

Stress definitely ages you prematurely. It can stunt your sleep, strain your eyes, and furrow your brow, and all this added wear-and-tear is bad news for your youthful appearance. Those signs of aging that should have waited another 10-20 years to appear will suddenly start popping up: crow’s feet at the corners of your eyes, fine lines on your forehead, splotchy skin, and dark circles under the eyes. Get some more sleep, then look for products that contain retinol or Vitamin E to start doing some damage control.

Call us at (858) 914-5418 to schedule some much-needed you-time!