Is Crying Good Or Bad For Your Skin? Derms Weigh In – Lifotravel

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But what are tears, actually? “Tears have a similar structure to saliva in that they are mostly made of water, but also contain salt, fatty oils, and over 1,500 proteins,” board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical Rachel Westbay, M.D., FAAD tells mbg.

PSA: There’s more than one kind of tear. “Emotional tears have a different chemical composition than standard tears we know to lubricate the eyes all day long,” Westbay explains. 

“Emotional tears, also known as psychic tears, have higher concentrations of protein-based hormones, including prolactin, as well as the neurotransmitter leucine enkephalin–a painkiller produced when one experiences stress,” she continues.

“Interestingly, this confers greater viscosity, so emotional tears stay on your face longer, which researchers believe may be a biological advantage in that it helps others see your distress and help you appropriately,” Westbay finishes. Pretty cool, right?

So how do emotional tears actually affect your skin? Part of the answer is hidden in the pH difference. See tears have a pH level similar to saline, which is right around 7. This happens to be higher than the pH of our skin, “Which is typically a pH of around 5.5 to 6,” she explains. 

“Consequently, while short-term exposure to tears is unlikely to be harmful, long-term exposure can produce irritation and affect skin hydration by way of altering the natural pH,” Westbay says. Read: A good cry session won’t be detrimental to your skin’s pH in a few minutes. 

“Tears also contain electrolytes, which explains their salty taste, and the sodium and chloride content, specifically, can alter the skin’s normal fluid balance,” Westbay explains. “Thanks to osmosis, water travels to wherever the fluid is more concentrated, in order to maintain homeostasis.” 

So when the more concentrated “side” of your skin is the outside (given the recent flow of tears), water moves from inside your skin’s barrier to the surface to try to balance both sides, Westbay says. This may result in dehydration of the skin’s superficial layers, she adds. 

The answer: Focus on replenishing hydration to the skin post-cry (yes, it’s really that simple). To come, a few expert-backed methods to do just that. 

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