Your Skin On Emotions
Shape Malaysia|July - August 2019

Feelings are written all over your face: red and inflamed when you’re upset, soft and radiant when you’re happy. Here, new science on the psychology of skin—and how best to navigate it.

Didi Gluck

The link between our skin and our emotions is becoming more understood as researchers and dermatologists see firsthand the effects feelings have on their subjects and patients. We now get that our mood really does show up on our face. “In fact, skin is one of the biggest indicators of our state of mind,” says Merrady Wickes, the head of content and education at the Detox Market. Happy and calm? Your skin tends to maintain its clarity and even adopt an allover radiance and a healthy flush. But when you’re angry, stressed, or anxious, so is your skin; it can turn red, break out in pimples, or flare up with rosacea or psoriasis. Here’s the empowering news: There are things you can do to stop negative emotions from affecting your face. Read on.

WHY YOUR SKIN GETS MOODY

It goes back to the fight-or-flight response, that super adaptive instinct that enables us to kick into action. “When you face something stressful, your adrenal glands secrete hormones, including cortisol, epinephrine [commonly known as adrenaline], and small amounts of testosterone, which trigger a cascade of reactions that can lead to excess oil production, decreased immunity [which can spur cold sores and psoriasis], and increased blood in your vessels [which can cause undereye circles and puffness],” says New York City dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, a Shape Brain Trust member. You may also get acne breakouts or rosacea.

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