We tend to assume that we can have a "poker" face quite easily. In other words, we think that we can hide our feelings through having stoic faces. However, how often have you looked at someone and just felt that you knew how they were feeling, even if they had a basically emotionless face?
Probably pretty often.
We also think that aging causes repetative wrinkles that are connected to emotions, so we worry about "frown" lines. We attach emotion to our wrinkles on our face; but we never call a wrinkle on the knee for instance, an emotionally fueled name. Only our faces.
We know that the skin and mind are very closely connected. Don't believe me? Think of being shy or angry and the changes your skin takes on, rather quickly. Or anxious. Or the cooling of the skin during sleep. Your skin and nervous system, and mind, are an interconnected web.
While you might be anxious and skin pick or scratch, which is a more obvious skin-mind connection, some subtle reactions to emotions that are displayed by the skin are hormonal breakouts, acne, rashes and psoriasis, to name just a few.
Many of the "easy to see" skin conditions or episodes, also bring extra stress; they carry shame, and create behaviors of isolation, low self-esteem and body image struggles.
In a study from 2016, it was found that women smile more and that their quality of smile connected to their life satisfaction. The study did not significantly predict disposition for men, but did so for women. Thus, we can gather that from this study, that men have been in the habit of reigning in their emotional expression through the lifespan, where women have less evidence of filtering their facial expressions.
We can't deny the stress response which used to be focused on cortisol like the hottest superfood of the year (remember, first it was apples, then berries, then mushrooms, etc...). Cortisol has it's place in stress but so do varied immune system cells.
Langerhans cells, in the uppermost area of the skin, are sort of the mediator for your nervous and immune system; so when the nervous system goes haywire or on overload, your immune system might as well, in any part of your body, but also we know now, in the skin as well. This is why a stressful emotional episode can bring on a rash, or make a dormant virus like herpes, or condition like psoriasis, fuel up.
So, if you are a women who is showing some signs of what you consider aging, know that you are potentially showing your inner world - and with a mindset tweak, you might find you look more vital and peaceful. This in turn might create less stress in your life overall, as you'll feel more confident. Additionally, with less stress, the Langerhans cells are less likely to activate the immune system in a way that creates a flare.
What are your memories where your face was very telling of what you were feeling, and you might not have realized it until someone brought it to your attention?