Written by: Cindy Shau PharmD. Candidate, University of Georgia College of Pharmacy

 

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. With the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country, there have been many lifestyle changes and adjustments that we have to make. Whether it be practicing social distancing and working from home or delayed vacation and time with family and friends, it can all take a toll.

All these changes are hard on our bodies, whether we recognize it or not. Stress affects our health in many ways. It can weaken our immune system and throw off the body’s internal equilibrium, leading to various symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and etc.

Aside from stress’s internal effects, external effects become visible on our skin. Because our skin is also the largest organ in our body, any changes are easily noticeable. These changes occur by several mechanisms.

Stress can trigger inflammation by tricking the body to think that it is under attack; increase adrenaline production, causing more sweat which leads to dry skin; trigger existing conditions like eczema or psoriasis by producing excess cortisol; produce more oil by stimulating the sebaceous gland in the skin, and trigger hair loss by stopping hair production or by increasing the rate it sheds.

A number of ways that our skin can show stress are shown below.

 

Acne

Rosacea

Eczema

Alopecia

Hives

Vitiligo

Psoriasis

 

According to a 2003 clinical and questionnaire-based prospective observational cohort study, increasing stress levels (measured by change in perceived sleep quality, change in meals per day, and change in perceived diet quality) correlated with an increase in acne severity. This graph below shows the correlation between stress levels and acne severity. 

 

Acne Chart

 

Also, a 2013 systematic review by Department of Dermatology and Surgery at University of California, San Francisco showed that 81% of patients saw worsening of their eczema symptoms (I.e. itching) with psychological stress. 

 

So what can we do to reduce stress? 

Here are several tips to reduce stress (while social distancing)?

Meditation
Meditation will help you relax your mind. There are free mobile apps that you can download to help you with your meditation.

Start a New Hobby
Puzzles, coloring books, and cooking courses can be excellent stress-relieving hobbies. Many of the supplies you need can be ordered online and delivered to your door.

Go Outside
A 10-minute walk around the neighborhood can brighten your mood, and getting some sun may also be beneficial.

Have a Spa Day
There are a variety of facial masks, some with fun designs that you can purchase online. Sit back and relax while the face mask does its work.

Call Your Loved Ones
Nowadays, we can talk, or video chat with our friends and family anytime. Talking about the things that cause you stress may help you to feel better.

At Innovation Compounding, we address these stress conditions in the skin in various ways. We can make custom formulations based on your skin needs (with a prescription from your physician/dermatologist), can change dosage forms of various dermatology products so that it is better absorbed into your skin.

We also offer various supplements to promote healthy skin in our online vitamin and supplement store (i.e., Collagen Factors; Hair, Skin and Nails; and Vitamin A & D).

 

Connect with Us

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Innovation Compounding at 1-800-547-1399, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, excluding all major holidays.

Pharmacy Hours (EST)
Sunday Closed
Monday 9AM - 6PM
Tuesday 9AM - 6PM
Wednesday 9AM - 6PM
Thursday 9AM - 6PM
Friday 9AM - 5PM
Saturday Closed


 

IMAGE CREDITS

  1. https://dermnetnz.org/assets/Uploads/acne/s/acne6__ProtectWyJQcm90ZWN0Il0_FocusFillWzI5NCwyMjIsInkiLDVd.jpg 
  2. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/xZ4ulCvL6LKdGOeX7lVNXU1un9k8tmGFYEmTAWVZcZTrabFCi7vZHi1jlZSRmp679X3HadCmPwKsYcF58MXf4TgeaBciPwRzCgwt3dD4hvoBJQ 
  3. https://img.webmd.com/dtmcms/live/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/articles/health_tools/adult_skin_problems_slideshow/phototake-rm-hives_urticaria_skin_rash.jpg?resize=646px:*&output-quality=100 
  4. https://www.consultant360.com/sites/default/files/transfer/rosacea_f1.png 
  5. https://www.psoriasis.com/content/dam/psoriasis/images/whatispsoriasis/1-1_Psoriasis_S.png 
  6. https://post.healthline.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/02/man-with-alopecia-areata.jpg 
  7. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/Vitiligo2.JPG 

REFERENCES 

  1. Chen Y, Lyga J. Brain-skin connection: stress, inflammation and skin aging. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2014;13(3):177–190. doi:10.2174/1871528113666140522104422 
  2. Chiu A, Chon SY, Kimball AB. The Response of Skin Disease to Stress: Changes in the Severity of Acne Vulgaris as Affected by Examination Stress. Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(7):897–900. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.7.897 
  3. Eczema and Emotional Wellness. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-emotional-wellness/. Accessed April 2, 2020. 
  4. Recognizing the mind-skin connection. Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Recognizing_the_mind-skin_connection. Published November 2006. Accessed March 31, 2020. 
  5. Robinson L, Smith M, Segal R. Stress Management. HelpGuide. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm. Published October 2019. Accessed March 31, 2020 
  6. Stress. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress. Published February 5, 2015. Accessed March 31, 2020. 
  7. Suárez AL, Feramisco JD, Koo J, Steinhoff M. Psychoneuroimmunology of psychological stress and atopic dermatitis: pathophysiologic and therapeutic updates. Acta Derm Venereol. 2012;92(1):7–15. doi:10.2340/00015555-1188 

 

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