Stress Awareness - How Worrying Can Affect Your Beauty

Posted on 17 June 2014

April is National Stress Awareness Month, an event developed and orchestrated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Federal Occupational Health. Throughout the month, programs are held across the country to help men and women learn more about the harmful effects of stress. Sometimes called a silent killer, stress has been linked with problems like heart disease, depression, stroke and poor immune system function.

The physical consequences of chronic stress are serious, and even minor stress can also have a detrimental effect on your appearance.

Stress can affect:

Your Hair - Severe stress can lead to a temporary form of hair loss called telogen effluvium, where your body responds to shock by shedding hairs that are in the dormant or telogen stage. While telogen effluvium does not usually result in bald patches, it can leave your hair much thinner for months until your body recovers and your hair can grow back. Researchers have also linked stress to a permanent and difficult-to-treat form of hair loss called alopecia areata that often results in full baldness and even hair loss from the eyebrows.

Your Complexion - Stress creates responses in the skin and can lead to the appearance of hives. Acne blemishes may also appear during times of stress, although doctors are not sure why this occurs. Scientists have also established that men and women who are under stress are more likely to develop flare-ups of eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, making stress management important if you suffer from any of these chronic dermatological conditions.

Your Under Eye Area - When you're under stress, you may find it difficult to fall asleep or fail to sleep restfully throughout the night. A lack of sleep can cause a number of problems, including contributing to dark circles and bags under your eyes.

Your Weight - During times of stress, you may find yourself craving foods that are high in sugar or fat, and you're more likely to overeat when you do indulge in these types of foods. Scientists have also discovered that a hormone released during times of stress called cortisol increases abdominal fat, so when you do overeat, you're more likely to gain flab around your midsection.

It's important not to let the possible effects of stress on your appearance and your body--stress you out further! There are ways of reducing stress' negative effects, even if you can't completely avoid stress. Exercising, talking to a counselor, avoiding alcohol and trying various relaxation techniques like yoga and deep breathing can all help to minimize stress. If you're concerned about your stress levels, talk to your doctor for more suggestions.

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