Stress and your skin

You’re angry and your face flushes. You’re nervous and itchy hives suddenly appear. Could there be relationship between your emotional state and your stubborn skin problems?

According to Thomas Gragg, M.D. of the Stanford University Medical Center, it is simplistic to say that the way we feel or act causes skin disease. Skin problems have multiple causes, and should always be treated medically. He said that one’s emotional state can play a large part in skin disorders. And dermatologists shouldn’t keep writing prescriptions for cream without also helping to work on the stress in life.

Although dermatologists have long maintained that stress affects skin only recently has strong scientific evidence emerged showing how distress can get under it. The breakthrough findings come from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who tracked the actual cellular process that may link today’s emotional turbulence with tomorrow’s skin inflammation. They found that a protein called substance P is secreted by nerve fibers in our blood vessels to become clogged with white blood cells. The result is inflammation.

Below are some common skin disorders and their emotional connections:


These raised itchy red spots afflict us at some time in our lives. A sudden, short-lived attack is usually the body’s response to a food or drug allergen- strawberries, shellfish, aspirin and penicillin are frequent offenders. The allergen prompts cells beneath the skin to produce chemical called histamine, which brings on the hives. Stress hormones play a part by dilating blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the skin. When hives are chronic-lingering for weeks, months, even years-usually, so is the stress. Sufferers tend to feel they’re trapped in an insoluble dilemma.


Pimple outbreaks are usually associated with teenagers, yet an estimated 17 million women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s struggle with adult acne. Stress is a trigger in more than half of these cases, with outbreaks likeliest to occur two days after the start of some emotional turmoil. Many doctors now believe that excess perspiration caused by stress plays a part.

Women who start with only mild acne can easily get caught in a cycle that results in a more severe case. Stressful events make their acne worse and then the acne itself adds further stress. The increased tension causes nervous fidgeting, and those afflicted touch or pick at their skin, further irritating the breakout.


Sometimes an itch arises, for no discernible reason, on healthy skin. This mysterious itch-unconnected to dryness, mites, or any other physical cause-can be anywhere on the body but most commonly wreaks its misery on the upper back. Most sufferers find itch especially aggravating at night, when they have fewer distractions. Unexplained itching often hints at repressed anger smoldering beneath the surface. Others believe that depression plays a part, as sufferers often respond to an antidepressants even though they may not feel depressed.


The flakery, blistering, itchy skin of eczema, typically runs in families-along with a susceptibility to hay fever and other allergic disorders. The disease, which can appear at any age, often starts with infancy, disappears between the ages of 2 and 4, then returns in early adulthood. Or, it may last from infancy onward into adulthood, with intermittent flare-ups and remissions.

Eczema is known to be less prevalent among breast-fed infants due to the skin contact that accompanies nursing. No one profile firs all eczema sufferers, but they tend to be intensely active, and sometimes compulsively driven. In adults, emotional upsets connected to love, marriage, rejection, or anger are particularly likely to cause flare-ups. For these sufferers, nurturing personal relationship and reducing stress are important goals to work toward relief.

How about you are you suffering from emotional stress today? Do you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above?

Do you know that the greatest cure for stress, emotional problems, worries or any burden can be found in the Word of God?

Matthew 6:24 says, “So never worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

1 Peter 5:7 says, " Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you."

Have a blessed day,

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