Can Being Angry Affect Your Skin?

Healthy, glowing skin counts on both nurture and nature. Your good genetics might endow you with flawless, supple skin in the earlier years of your life, but your lifestyle habits and other environmental factors might make or break your skin in the long run. For instance, protracted sun exposure sans sun protection, pollutants, and smoking can accelerate wrinkling — a natural part of aging — according to the Mayo Clinic. No matter how strong your skin structure and texture is by nature, you'll need the help of skincare, medications, cosmetic procedures, and a consistent, healthy diet to maintain your skin's flexibility and radiance as you age.

While all the aforementioned methods are essential to improving skin health from the inside out, we tend to neglect one important factor that can also interfere enormously with our skin health — anger. As a famous Buddha-inspired quote goes, "No anger inside means no enemy outside." As it turns out, it applies to our skin health, too. Letting our blood boil might predispose our skin to premature aging and breakouts, or so they say. Since ancient times, the complex linkage between emotions and skin wellness has been studied and documented. Numerous studies have concluded that a raging mind can be every bit as destructive to the skin as the glaring sun. Here's why incorporating a happy face into our daily skincare routine might be the next best step toward achieving youthful, radiant skin. 

Anger can give you a flare-up

In fact, dermatologist and clinical psychologist Richard Fried tells Self, "So many [skin conditions] are related to an inappropriate release of inflammatory chemicals." If you're already affected with a skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, hormonal acne, or rosacea, this inflammation can trigger a flare-up. As explained by AP Skincare, excessive stress causes your body to release a large quantity of cortisol, the body's main stress hormone that triggers increased oil production in your skin glands, contributing to clogged pores and breakouts. What's more, great quantities of cortisol can destroy the skin's collagen and elastin, accelerating the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Negative emotions can also delay wound healing, thin out blood vessels, and slow down the formation of skin cells by as much as 50%, which can result in the buildup of dead skin cells and a dull complexion.

It's also worth pointing out that your skin is constantly exposed to environmental stressors such as UV radiation, infra-red radiation, air pollution, cosmetic products, tobacco smoke, as well as other less studied factors. In response to these stressors, your skin produces stress hormones such as cortisol. Therefore, being on the receiving end of psychological stressors such as relationship conflicts, work demands, or financial strain will add to the pressure and worsen your stressed-out skin. To put it plainly, whenever you lose your temper, your skin takes a hit. To minimize your skincare woes, learn to release your anger in a positive way.

Learn to diffuse anger safely

There are numerous ways to alleviate stress and anger. Smoking is one way to lessen anger and anxiety rapidly as nicotine is known to boost mood and relax muscles. However, smoking can release free radicals into your body and speed up the natural aging process of the skin, so think twice before you reach for your next cigarette. Alcohol and partying are not sustainable ways to manage anger and stress either. Instead, try to address the root problems by identifying your anger triggers, Mental Help points out. For instance, you have a tendency to go bananas when someone ignores you or when a person leaves their phone unattended and ringing. Once you've tracked your thought patterns and figured out your warning signs, you have a better chance of preventing yourself from reacting in the heat of the moment and thus breaking the downward spiral.

Alternatively, explore various relaxation techniques to diffuse your anger safely. Taking slow, controlled breaths is one way to calm yourself down. You can also meditate on an uplifting message from a song or book or recite a comforting mantra to quiet your thoughts and tame your spirit. When you experience high-intensity rage, Mental Health America recommends physically throwing or smashing something in the most damage-free way possible, changing the scenery, screaming into a pillow, or singing or dancing your sorrow away. If you're dealing with a chronic anger problem, speaking to a psychologist can go a long way toward improving your emotion regulation skills.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.