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Blocking Glucocorticoid Prevents Stress-Induced Skin Abnormalities

Inhibiting glucocorticoid, a type of steroid, can prevent skin abnormalities induced by psychological stress, according to a new study from the December //issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. The new study also shows how psychological stress induces skin abnormalities that could initiate or worsen skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Previous research has shown that psychological stress increases glucocorticoid production. In addition, it is well recognized that psychological stress adversely affects many skin disorders, including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

“In this study, we showed that the increase in glucocorticoids induced by psychological stress induces abnormalities in skin structure and function, which could exacerbate skin diseases,” Feingold explained. This provides a link for understanding how psychological stress can adversely affect skin disorders. Blocking the production or action of glucocorticoids prevented the skin abnormalities induced by psychological stress.

Skin protects

The skin is the body’s largest organ and plays a crucial role in providing a barrier between the environment and the internal organs. It protects us from harmful microorganisms, ultraviolet light, toxic chemicals, and more. However, its most important function is providing a permeability barrier that prevents us from drying out. We are approximately 65 percent water and we are able to survive and function in dry environments because the skin forms a permeability barrier that prevents the loss of water.

The permeability barrier is located in the outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum is composed of dead cells surrounded by lipid membranes which mediate the permeability barrier. The stratum corneum layer continuously sloughs off, and therefore must be regenerated. The epidermal cells in the lower epi
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