Psychological stress arises when people are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. It arises when the individual perceives that the pressure exceeds one’s adaptive power. It is perceived by the brain and stress hormones such as corticotropin-releasing hormone, glucocorticoids, and epinephrine are released. This triggers a wide range of physiological and behavior changes and responses that try to adapt the body to the stress. However, if the stress responses are inadequate or excess, they may trigger adverse physiological events. It has been shown that stress can trigger and/or exacerbate multiple conditions, including cardiovascular disease, migraine, multiple sclerosis, epileptic seizures, and neurodegeneration.
1) Skin plays important barrier and immune functions and maintains homeostasis between external environment and internal tissues.
2) Skin is both an immediate stress perceiver and a target of stress responses.
3) Stress conditions exert their effects to skin mainly through the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (see paragraph below)
For more in-depth info about how stress affects the skin search
Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. Jun 2014; 13(3): 177–190.
Brain Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging
Ying Chen* and John Lyga
Stress enables individuals to effectively respond to threatening situations arising both from their internal environment (e.g., hypotension, pain) or external environment (e.g., cold, predators), and to maintain homeostasis. One mechanism involved in the so-called “stress response” is the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis describes an endocrine signaling cascade that starts with the release of corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) in the hypothalamus, which causes the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in the pituitary gland, that then triggers the release of glucocorticoids (cortisol) from the adrenal glands. The activation of the HPA axis leads to wide ranging-effects, including raised blood pressure and raised heart rate, increased metabolism, and increased psychological alertness, as well as decreased inflammatory and decreased immune responses.
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