Skin, Stress and Exercise

our skin is the largest organ of your body and responsible for maintaining temperature, fighting off viruses and holding in your other organs. This is a lot of stress to place on a single organ, but your skin tends to take this in stride. Chronic levels of stress however can lead to skin problems like inflammation, itching and compromised immunity. Even if you don’t necessarily realize that you are being exposed to stress your body, including your skin, can react to hormonal changes caused by stress. One of the best ways to decrease your body’s reaction to stress is to exercise regularly. This can have several effects that can help make your skin look and feel healthier.

Chronic stress causes your body’s endocrine system to release hormones such as cortisol. Over time, chronically high levels of these hormones cause problems like an overproduction of sebum from the follicles of your skin. This can clog pores when combined with dead skin cells, causing acne and skin inflammation. Exercise naturally decreases levels of stress hormones, both during and after the actual workout. Inflamed skin and other skin conditions caused by chronically high stress hormone levels can also deplete your body’s immunity. As a result, you become more susceptible to illness and even minor cuts or breaks in your skin may take longer than normal to heal.

Exercise isn’t simply a good way to lose or maintain your weight, it can also improve your skin’s appearance. When combined with a program that includes a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water, exercise can improve your mood, reduce your risk of chronic illness and encourages you to sweat. Sweating is helpful because it helps to regulate your temperature but it also forces waste products from the follicles of your skin out and away from your body.

If you have any questions about the effects of stress on your skin, call our office to make an appointment.