Stress and skin Have you noticed changes in your skin lately? Patches of dry, itchy skin or even an outbreak of rosacea or acne? You’re not alone, says Caroline Nelson, a medical dermatologist at the Yale School of Medicine who says she’s seeing an uptick in adults reporting these conditions.

Why is stress bad for the skin?

“Cortisol increases oil production in the skin and therefore can make you more susceptible to developing acne,” Nelson explains.

Is wearing a face mask bad for the skin?face mask skin

“At the same time, everyone is wearing masks, which are occlusive. When you combine the cortisol-driven increase in oil production with the occlusion of the mask, you get a perfect storm.” says Nelson.

Moreover, oil, dirt, sweat and an occlusive mask is also the perfect petridish for bacteria formation, therefore pimples, acne, black/white heads are not uncommon.

Also many people feel stressed simply by the fact of having to wear a mask. It is not comfortable, quite un-natural and a bit creepy. Moreover, some people have reported feeling claustrophobic.

Essential workers extreme skin damage.

Necessary extra hand hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE) have damaged skin among health-care workers, and other essential workers.
Notably irritant, and allergic contact dermatitis to PPE and hand-hygiene measures, as well as
face mask induced pressure-related skin damage.

As a matter of fact, a majority of them experienced skin dryness/tightness (70.3%) and desquamation (62.2%) commonly occurring on the nasal bridge (83.1%).

Face mask and headgear worn tightly for prolonged hours result in dermatitis, pressure urticaria, friction dermatitis, abrasions, and aggravation of pre-existing skin conditions.

Constant handwashing & hand sanitizers.

In addition, constant handwashing and the frequent use of alcohol-based sanitizers also deal the skin a blow. These practices can dry the skin and break down its natural barrier.” It can also lead to redness, dryness and cracks,” Nelson says.

To protect the hands after washing them, apply lotion while they are still damp, which traps moisture next to the skin.

Why is stress bad for your hair?

Nelson says more people are experiencing telogen effluvium, a type of sudden but temporary hair loss associated with stressful events. “Your hair is constantly cycling between the anagen [growing] phase and the telogen [resting] phase,” she says. “But severe physical or psychological stress can cause your body to shift more follicles into the resting state.” That means less hair is growing to replace lost strands.

Fortunately, you can expect your follicles to flip back into the anagen phase when the stress dips, and your hair should regrow. Still, you may want to have your hair loss evaluated to rule out problems with your thyroid or a nutritional deficiency.

Resources

How Pandemic Stress Can Hurt Your Health. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/pandemic-stress-headaches-skin-conditions.html

Latrogenic dermatitis in times of COVID-19: A pandemic within a pandemic. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jdv.16710