How Stress Affects Your Appearance: From Skin to Hair

Most people will experience stress from time to time. However, chronic stress can impact various aspects of your life, from your mental health to your immune system. What you might not realize is constant tension and worry can affect how you look throughout the years.

If you feel in a constant state of panic or can’t remember the last time you felt relaxed, you must find ways to unwind or your health and appearance could pay the price. Continue reading to learn how stress affects your appearance.


It might shock you to learn that stress can change the proteins in your skin, which can decrease its elasticity and cause wrinkles to form. Also, if you’re constantly tensing your face or furrowing your brow, you’ll increase the likelihood of fine lines and deep wrinkles.

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Stress can damage your teeth in many ways. For example, it could cause you to grind or clench your teeth throughout the day or during sleep. The issue can even lead to muscle and joint pain, known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), which may cause worn, unattractive teeth, as well as headaches and back and neck aches. If stress is causing you to clench or grind your teeth, discuss the issue with your dentist to discuss a potential treatment, such as a mouth guard or splint.


According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress will weaken the immune system, as it reduces lymphocytes in the body, which are white blood cells that fight infections. In addition to increasing your risk of illness, it can cause a bacteria imbalance in the skin and gut, causing rashes and redness on the skin. What’s more, it can exacerbate or trigger various skin conditions, such as:

  • Eczema
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Psoriasis

Graying Hair

As you might have heard, stress can turn your hair gray, and scientific research has identified why. According to a 2020 study published in Nature, stress can cause activity in the sympathetic nervous system that results in the disappearance of melanocytes, the melanin pigment responsible for hair color. As a result, cells will disappear, and the new cells will no longer produce a color, turning your hair gray.

Hair Loss

In addition to causing gray hair, chronic stress could be responsible for hair loss. A constant state of worry will disrupt your hair’s growth cycle, causing telogen effluvium, a common form of temporary hair loss, to develop. When this happens, large amounts of hair may fall out and lead to baldness or hair loss patches on your head and even on your beard. If you suspect stress is the cause of your hair loss, you must find ways to relax, such as practicing meditation, distancing yourself from stressful environments, and embracing a soothing hobby.

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