10 negative effects of cortisol on the skin

There are several negative effects of cortisol on the skin that can be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Stress is a very harmful factor for health.

Last update: 06 May, 2022

The effects of cortisol on the skin can be negative when the substance is in excess. Let’s remember that she is the feared one stress hormone. It is present in the body naturally, but in increased amounts it causes problems.

Stress has a negative impact on general health. Some of its repercussions include headaches, insomnia, fatigue and irritability. Likewise, signs appear on the skin that we will see below.

Cortisol is the stress hormone

The body produces a greater amount of cortisol when faced with a threatening situation. This hormone causes the brain to go on alert and the body to properly prepare for fight or flight. That is why, in principle, it is a substance that helps survival.

However, if that feeling of threat becomes very continuous or appears in the face of stimuli that do not warrant it, the body produces more cortisol than necessary. Excess causes multiple changes in the body; most of them negative.

The human dermis does not escape the impact. The effect of cortisol on the skin favors the development of various skin problems and even dermatological diseases. Usually, the levels of other hormones that can be harmful, such as adrenaline and histamine, also rise.

The negative effects of cortisol on the skin

The negative effects of cortisol on the skin occur because this hormone has the ability to accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Both substances are essential for skin health. Its deterioration causes several problems.

1. wrinkles

Impaired collagen and elastin production leads to the formation of wrinkles. In addition, stress causes greater rigidity in the muscles of the face. This, in turn, accentuates expression lines.

Likewise, cortisol in the skin reduces the ability to absorb water. All together is a harmful combination.

If you heard that stress causes wrinkles, then now you know that it is. Expression lines increase with cortisol.

2. Acne

Stress unbalances the skin microbiota, that is, the microorganisms that naturally inhabit the skin. When this happens, excess oil is produced, the pores are clogged and annoying pimples appear.

3. Opaque tone

Excess cortisol, caused by stress, hinders cell renewal. Consequently, the accumulation of dead cells and toxins is increased. This leads to skin looking dull, dull and dull.

4. Sensitive skin

The skin is weakened by the action of cortisol. This is also due to the imbalance of the skin microbiota, which is quite impacted. This is why it is possible that the skin begins to overreact to substances or stimuli that previously did not cause any difficulty.

5. tightness

Cortisol also causes a tightening effect on the skin. This is more noticeable after washing your face.

The skin looks tight, but not toned. This appearance is due to the fact that the hormone reduces the ability of the skin to retain water.

6. Excoriations

Excoriations are skin irritations that they are produced by friction with itself or against another surface. One of the effects of cortisol on the skin is to make it itchy. This leads to these scratch lesions forming.

7. Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a dermatological disease that It is usually activated when a person experiences episodes of stress.. Flakes and redness of the skin appear, especially on the scalp.

8. Atopic dermatitis

Many do not know that cortisol in the skin also favors atopic dermatitis. Prolonged stress states often trigger symptomsalthough it is not the only factor that affects.

9. Psoriasis

Psoriasis causes the life cycle of cells to accelerate. This leads them to die prematurely and accumulate on the skin surface, forming red spots and scales.

In those conditions, there is intense itching and pain. States of stress favor episodes of symptom activation.

States of stress increase psoriasis outbreaks.

10. Hair loss

One of the problems caused by cortisol in the skin is hair loss. This condition is known as alopecia and sometimes it becomes so aggressive that it can cause total baldness. However, the hair manages to recover when a state of greater tranquility is reached.

How to counteract the effects of cortisol on the skin?

The most important thing to avoid the negative effects of cortisol on the skin is to learn to manage stress. There are several ways to do this, such as the following:

  • Physical activity: exercise has very positive effects on mood.
  • Meditation: Meditation practices are often very effective in reducing stress and achieving greater mental balance.
  • Healthy social life: positive contact with other people is a great way to balance emotions.
  • Do sleep hygiene: eliminate screens from the room, have a regular time to go to bed.

For the rest, some basic dermatological care habits should be maintained:

  • Cleanse the skin daily, in the morning and at night.
  • Exfoliate the skin once a week.
  • Always use sunscreen.
  • Moisturize every day.

It should not be forgotten that the impact of a high level of this hormone also affects other organs and systems of the body. Therefore, it is essential to manage emotions.

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