Stress does not cause wrinkles
The combination of factors that lead to wrinkles do not include stress.(1) Rather, the gradual, evolving topography of a person’s face is determined by aging, exposure to the sun’s UV rays, nutrition, gender, smoking, and repeated facial expressions.
Facial expressions such as frowning and grimacing are indirectly related to stress, with the idea that someone struggling with difficult professional, financial or emotional may scrunch up their face more than another person. But that’s about the extent of a causal link between stress and human wrinkles.
Sun Over Stress
The number one controllable cause of wrinkles is most definitely exposure to the sun. Even more so today than several decade ago, a thinned ozone layer means that even in winter, it is advisable for people to wear sunscreen and-or moisturizer.(2) But of course, most people don’t.
Reading the fine print for skin care protections is critical. There are two kinds of damaging sun rays, UVA and UVB. Some cheaper products only shield the user from one of these, not both. Also, doctors recommend that people opt for other moisturizing products and lotions that have a built-in, sunscreen component, so as to better prevent the onset of wrinkles.
Arguably one of the closest conditional connections to wrinkles that stress can cause is oily skin and acne.(2) The many other symptoms of stress include headaches, stomach distress, dry mouth, and disruption of normal, healthy sleep patterns.
Stress causes as many behaviors as it does physical symptoms. Things like teeth clenching and jaw grinding are not symptoms per se, but continued patterns of this sort of behavior can of course cause damage to the teeth and-or jaw. In terms of wrinkle-related behavioral symptoms, the one to worry about is increased smoking. Stress can lead to more cigarettes lit, and as a result, anchor more solidly one of the proven, known causes of wrinkles.
(1) Mayo Clinic – Wrinkles: Causes, Retrieved November 3, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wrinkles/DS00890/DSECTION=causes
(2) Mayo Clinic – Wrinkles: Prevention, Retrieved November 3, 2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wrinkles/DS00890/DSECTION=prevention
(3) University of Texas – “What is Stress?”. Retrieved November 3, 2011 from http://cmhc.utexas.edu/stressrecess/Level_One/whatis.html