Stress and Skin

Published on August 15, 2011 by in Dermatology, Neurology

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Many of us have long suspected that there is a connection between stress and our skin. I mean there has to be a reason why that pimple appears on your forehead the day of your big date, right? Well there is a growing body of evidence to linking your skin health to your state of mind. It seems that stress can have an effect on conditions such as rosacea, acne and psoriasis.

This topic was discussed by Dr. Richard G. Fried, MD of Yardley, PA at the American Academy of Dermatology’s summer meeting earlier this month. Dr. Fried, who has a somewhat unique combination of specialties being a board certified dermatologist as well as a clinical psychologist, said the following:

“It is important to consider the biological response that happens when a person experiences stress. Neuropeptides, the chemicals released by skin’s nerve endings, are the skin’s first line of defense from infection and trauma. When responding to protect the skin, neuropeptides can create inflammation and an uncomfortable skin sensation, such as numbness, itching, sensitivity or tingling. However, stressful situations can cause neuropeptides to be inappropriately released, which can lead to a flare of skin conditions.”

The real kicker is that these same neuropeptides can disrupt the chemical balance regulating our emotions and thus can actually cause more stress. It seems this is all just a vicious cycle.

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