Well Being

Effects Of Stress Include Looking Tired And Gross, Say Doctors. Thanks, Science!

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You know how you feel less-than-attractive when you're really tired? Well, there's some scientific reasoning behind that. Stress and fatigue actually affect our skin, making us look puffier, saggier and in some cases, wrinklier. Thanks for letting us know, science!!

According to Dr. Amit Sood, associate professor of medicine and chair of the Mind Body Initiative at Mayo Clinic:

Stress causes a drop in the skin’s ability to protect itself. All of this happens with chronic stress — if you do not have healthy collagen in your skin, you would have baggy sort of skin under your eyes.


Dr. Sood, author of Train Your Brain, Engage Your Heart, Transform Your Life: A Course in Attention and Interpretation Therapy of spoke more about the affects of stress:

You lose efficiency; your sleep is not as restful; you eat more, you gain weight; your relationships are affected.

Well, yep. Check, check, check and check. Is Dr. Sood living in my life right now? (December has been a stressful month.) Having puffy skin is also associated with stress and fatigue, as puffiness occurs when the body doesn't have enough time to rejuvenate itself overnight (that's why your face looks so bad when you're hungover, too).

Dr. Michael Roizen said:

Normally when you sleep, you distribute water in the body. Not sleeping causes us to accumulate water under our eyes, giving us that extra “baggage.”

Roizen also says that stress leads to wrinkles. I usually feel like I look bad when I'm stressed and tired, but I generally chalk it up to not having enough time for self-care, not the actual biological processes associated with stress. Dr. Sood adds:

Your cells are biologically 10 to 15 years older … if you are chronically stressed. If you are 45, the cells signal as if they are 60 years old.


Well, hell. Not good news, am I right? But not necessarily surprising or shocking news, when it comes down to it I mean, all of us can feel and see these effects in our own lives. I suppose the lesson here is to cut down on stress, anyway. I know it's easier said than done, but since the effects of stress can affect your health as well as your looks, it's certainly worth trying.

Photo: Shutterstock