Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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Stressed? 5 Ways It Shows Up on Your Face

How we approach and mentally manage the routine stressors in our lives really impacts how fast or slow we age. As a neuropsychologist, my expertise is in understanding neural pathways as they respond to anxiety, stress, and trauma. How we think directly impacts how we age and how youthful we appear. When stressed, we can see it in our skin tone, texture, elasticity, and overall glow. 

Stress is literally written all over your face. When someone is under stress they can appear up to 5 years older, 10 years if they don’t manage stress or make changes to their lives. Stressful relationships and careers age people. I have seen patients end relationships or get new jobs and look 10 years younger within days. People are spending money on creams, facials, and cosmetic procedures, but if the stress is still there, it will still show on their face.

Here are ways stress is written all over your face

1. Dark circles 

Stress results in blood flow to main organs plus capillaries under eyes are fragile and break under stress leaving your face looking sallow and tired. Dark circles seem more apparent. 

2. Mini-menopause 

The jury is still out on exactly how or if this is possible, but it appears that the constant flow of cortisol that goes along with chronic stress causes a dip in estrogen, one that mimics, on a smaller scale, the dip that occurs during menopause. Less estrogen means less collagen and less moisture. So, while estrogen levels may not drop enough to shut down your period, stress may make them dip enough to make your skin look dull and dry.

 3. More wrinkles

 Life’s stress due to divorce, death of loved one, job loss, and/or financial concerns impacts our brain chemistry. When we feel sad or anxious, are crying or not sleeping well, it’s common to see deeper lines around the middle of the eyes, forehead, under-eye area, and mouth. 

4. Itchiness, flakes, and even hives

 Stress leads to inflammation which may lead to rashes, rosacea, eczema flare ups, and changes in skin moisture. 

5. People asking if you’re feeling okay 

When the Starbucks barista or guy at the dry cleaners asks if you’re feeling okay, pay attention. These people may not know the details of your life, but they know how you look because they see you quickly.

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