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Stress from the pandemic could be making you look older

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Posted at 4:55 PM, May 19, 2021

Stress is something more Americans have been dealing with over the last year and one of the many health impacts it can have is making you look older.

“So, there's absolutely a mind-skin connection, in fact, the embryologic roots of the skin are the same as the central nervous system. And so, what does this mean? When we get stressed and the various factors that our brain releases our skin can respond as well as our immune system. And so, we know when we're stressed, our skin loses water more readily. It becomes inflamed more readily and no question, the past year-plus has been extraordinarily stressful, which will clinically or optically appear as maybe more sullen or more irritable skin,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, Chair of dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Being on Zoom or other video chatting platforms too much is also something that can have an impact on this.

Doctor Friedman says when you can see your face all day, you may start to notice more imperfections on your skin and do more to try and fix it.

“Often too much of a good thing is a bad thing. For example, washing your face five times a day, not a good idea, using too much products with retinas or retina-like, acid-like retinoids is also not a good idea. Moderation is key, and I think because we're seeing ourselves so much, we're trying to do too much at once, and that can also be harmful,” said Friedman.

The good news is in most cases, looking older from stress won't be permanent. Friedman says skin on your face is constantly renewing itself.

It's only when stress becomes chronic that it will have lasting effects like fine lines or wrinkles. He says the typical ways to reduce stress will also help your skin, things like exercise, yoga, and meditation.