Stress No More

Nicole Hayre, MD, FAAD
Nicole Hayre, MD, FAAD

We all live in a stress-causing environment. Whether we are in a toxic relationship, dealing with traffic while driving to work, budgeting our bills, or juggling the never-ending duties of motherhood, our bodies respond to stress by producing cortisol: the fight-flight hormone with a bad rep for skin health. Have you ever noticed during these stressed-out times, your skin becomes more dull and breakouts are more frequent? A spike in cortisol can trigger blemishes or inflammation in skin conditions like rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Skin flare-ups can occur because stress weakens our immune system and catapults an inflammatory response. Similarly, a breakout is common when we are stressed since cortisol disrupts our body’s hormones and stimulates sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum.

Luckily, we have a heroic hormone that our bodies produce called Oxytocin. Oxytocin the “love hormone” counteracts cortisol and its effects on our skin. We’re not saying love conquers all (although it might help cure-all) skin conditions, but it sure can make it easier to manage inflammatory skin conditions and their breakouts.

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