You know what it feels like when you’re stressed—but do you know what it looks like? The uncomfortable experience of feeling overworked, under pressure and stretched thin doesn’t just make your stomach rumble and your heart race, but it’s illustrated on your skin, your nails and your hair. As holistic esthetician Tammy Fender explains, stress affects all of our body systems, our mind, emotions and sense of wellness, but symptoms often arrive first in our largest organ—our skin.
Because stress causes our body to fire off more cortisol, you begin to develop poor habits—like turning to salty, fatty foods or wrestling with the sandman—lowering your overall state of health. Not only dangerous for your waistline and your productivity at work, but also, your skin’s elasticity and appearance.
Here are some ways your skin, hair and nails are impacted by stress—and, more importantly, what to do about it.
1. Excess Oil and Breakouts
Dealing with a client you just can’t seem to please? Or is your relationship heading south? Fender says these added worries and heightened anxiety pushes your sebum production to overflow, resulting in unwanted acne scattered across your T-zone. When you’re distraught, many have the tendency to touch their face or rub their eyes, resulting in even more oil and bacteria that can clog your pores and result in consistent breakouts.
What to do: Dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD, FAAD recommends that using a soothing serum or clarifying face mask will force you to have quiet time a few times a week to clear your head, while soothing your skin.
2. Deeper Lines and Wrinkles
It’s not only pimples that rear their head when your social and work calendars are overflowing, but wrinkles begin to deepen, too. After all, the concept of “aging overnight” after hearing difficult news isn’t just a saying but a warning.