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Skin, Stress and Exercise

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and is responsible for maintaining temperature, fighting off viruses and, essentially, holding you together. This is a lot of stress to place on a single organ, but your skin tends to take this in stride. Chronic levels of stress, however, can lead to skin problems like inflammation, itching and compromised immunity. Even if you don’t realize you are exposed to stress, your body (including your skin) can react to hormonal changes caused by stress. One of the best ways to decrease your body’s reaction to stress is to exercise regularly. This can have several effects that can help make your skin look and feel healthier.

Chronic stress causes your body’s endocrine system to release hormones such as cortisol. Over time, chronically high levels of these hormones cause problems like an overproduction of sebum from the follicles of your skin. This can clog pores when combined with dead skin cells, causing acne and skin inflammation. Exercise naturally decreases levels of stress hormones, both during and after workouts. Inflamed skin and other skin conditions caused by chronically high stress hormone levels can also deplete your body’s immunity. As a result, you can become more susceptible to illness; even minor cuts or breaks in your skin may take longer than normal to heal.

Exercise isn’t simply a good way to lose or maintain your weight; it can also improve your skin’s appearance. When combined with a program that includes a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water, exercise can improve your mood, reduce your risk of chronic illness and promotes sweating. Sweating is helpful because it helps regulate your temperature and forces waste products from the follicles of your skin out and away from your body.

If you have any questions about the effects of stress on your skin, call our office to make an appointment.

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