Think you can keep your anxiety a secret? Watch out-your skin might be giving away your stress levels. A 2005 study in the British Journal of Dermatology found that stress increases skin symptoms in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), including such conditions as eczema. This can have a spiraling effect, as patients with AD reported significantly higher levels of worry than the control group. In other research, French scientists determined that mediators in the brain can stimulate oil production in the skin, providing physiological evidence that stress is a trigger for acne. Finally, a 2004 report showed that 56.9 percent of study participants connected the onset of vitiligo (a condition that causes changes in skin pigment) with psychological or stress factors. This result is hardly surprising, since vitiligo is related to an insufficiency of the adrenal cortex-and the adrenal glands are responsible for producing cortisol in response to a stressful event. Bottom line? Your skin doesn’t lie. Talk to your health care provider about ways to relax, if stress is wreaking havoc on your complexion.
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