August 7, 2014
Science Daily/American Academy of Dermatology
Anyone who’s had a pimple form right before an important event may wonder if stress caused the break out. While commonly linked anecdotally, proving the relationship between stress and inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis and rosacea, is another matter. An expert discusses the latest research on the impact stress has on inflammatory skin conditions and his thoughts on how this research could change treatment options.
Dr. Granstein said experimental data support the idea that the nervous system and stress affect inflammatory skin conditions in humans. Many types of cells in the skin, including immune cells and endothelial cells (cells that line blood vessels), can be regulated by neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, which are chemicals released by the skin's nerve endings. Stress can result in the skin's nerve endings releasing an increased level of these chemicals. When this occurs, it can affect how and at what level our body responds to many important functions, such as sensation and control of blood flow, and can contribute to the symptoms of stress that we feel. In addition, the release of these chemicals can lead to inflammation of the skin.