Stress is everywhere—in your workplace, the grocery store or at home. But since you can’t hide from your work, bills or life in general, the best thing you can do is learn to manage stress. Because if you don’t, signs of stress will show up on your face, hair, and teeth in ways you may not like. Here are some ways stress affects your looks.

1. Acne and other skin issues

Stress causes skin issues like acne, eczema and psoriasis to flare up. In the case of acne, the culprit is cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Cortisol causes your brain to produce a hormone named corticotrophin-releasing hormone or CRH, which is known to stimulate oil release from your sebaceous glands. This excessive oil ends up clogging your pores and causing or worsening your acne.

2. Bags under your eyes

Does running a startup keep you awake at night? Do you feel stressed about your finances lately that you no longer have enough sleep? Sleep deprivation can cause fluid to pool below your lower eyelid, causing puffy bags under your eyes in the morning. The best solution here is to address the root of your stress & sleepless nights. Do you need extra funding for your startup? Consider getting a business loan. If it’s a family issue, try to straighten it out with the members involved to end your misery. 

And if you wake up with puffy eyes in the morning but need to be presentable for an office pitch or an important event, we’ve got a trick to help you. Put the back of a cold spoon (place it in the fridge a few minutes before you do the trick) to your under-eye area. Then, use the cold spoon to slowly massage the area from the inner to the outer corner of your eye. This trick will help jumpstart draining the built-up fluid in your under-eye.

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3. Grey hair & hair fall

Cells called melanocytes produce a pigment known as melanin to give your hair its colour. When you’re stressed, sympathetic nervous activity can cause the melanocyte-producing stem cells to disappear. And if they disappear, new hair cells lose their colour and turn grey. Too much stress can also disrupt your hair’s natural growth cycle and cause a larger-than-normal amount of hair fall. 

Grey hair and hair loss aren’t merely part of ageing. If you’re too stressed and you’ve noticed sudden hair fall or greying hair, it’s time to regain control over your situation. Meditate, take a breather and relax for a moment. You need to give your body a break to restore the functions and cell productions that recently went haywire.

4. Oral issues

Many people have developed the habit of grinding teeth to cope with stress and anxiety. But over time, this poor habit can cause permanent oral damage. You can’t flash your smile when you have too many damaged or missing teeth. 

Do you clench your teeth when you’re stressed or too worried? You’re at risk of developing TMD or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. TMD is a group of health issues that affect the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. 

Sore lips are another stress-related problem that may affect your looks. If you’re one of those who repeatedly bite their lips or the inside of their mouths when stressed, you’re likely to have sore lips. Try to break the habit by being more aware of it. Instead of biting your lip, get a stress ball or wear a fidget ring for anxiety.

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5. Rashes and hives

Rashes and hives are caused by dysbiosis, an imbalance in your gut. They are likely to crop up once stress takes over and disrupts the balance between the good & bad bacteria in your gut. You can do breathing exercises to reduce the chances of getting rashes or hives when you’re stressed. And again, address the stress at its root cause. But if rashes or hives already occur, consult your doctor. You may need to take medical-grade probiotics to restore the imbalance in your gut.