Crying is essential for health. It helps in letting out emotions and pain. Now whether it is good or it is not good for skin is a thing to think about.
Effects of Crying on Skin
Crying is inevitable for most people and it is not uncommon for a few people to have skin irritation after a good crying spell. The reason can be the isotonic nature of the tears. The pH of tears is higher than that of our skin, typically close to 7, and our skin has a pH of 5.5 or 6. Short-term exposure to tears may not be harmful but being exposed for a long term may cause changes in skin hydration and skin irritation due to pH differences.
But only the pH cannot be considered a culprit. Using a certain type of tissue for wiping the face can affect the skin and lead to inflammation, skin darkening, and can even irritate acne.
Tear production and shedding can have an effect on the entire face. While crying, the blood vessels around the eyes, face, and nostril gets dilated, which increase the blood flow and this can further lead to swelling, puffiness, and redness. To reduce these symptoms it is recommended to wash the face with cold water or apply a cold compress to the eyes.
Also, crying dehydrates the skin and leads to the loss of electrolytes. Drinking lots of water and using a moisturizer can be helpful in hydrating the skin and reducing irritation.
What are Tears Made of?
In order to understand the skin reaction to tears, it is important to understand the composition of tears.
Tears have three layers:(1)
The outermost layer prevents the drying up of tears and the inner mucous layer allows the tear film to stick to the eyes. The tear film is a thin layer that is always found coating the eyes around the cornea. The middle or the watery layer always keeps the eyes wet and nourishes their tissues.
Three main categories of tears are defined by the trigger and compositions. Basal and reflex tears are known to protect the eyes from debris and irritants. Emotional tears respond to feelings. Humans are the only known species that produce emotional tears.(2)
Tears are filled with electrolytes which explains their salty taste. Electrolytes are the essential minerals that have an electric charge and the essential for many body functions and are also present in blood, sweat, and urine. When a lot of electrolytes are lost by crying, it is recommended to make up for them by drinking lots of water and eating electrolyte-rich foods.
Health Benefits of Crying
Crying can obviously make you feel great and is known to have mental and physical health benefits, which include relieving stress, boosting mood, detoxifying the body, and releasing endorphins. It is a natural way in which the body tries to heal with pain and emotions.
Crying can be helpful in soothing a person when accompanied by outside support and comfort.(3) But, crying too much or uncontrollably can signal some physical or mental health conditions such as depression, dry eye syndrome, chronic pain, anxiety, aquagenic urticaria and pseudobulbar affect. One should not hesitate to reach out for help in any of these mentioned conditions.
How to Care for Skin Around Eyes?
The skin around the eyes is very thin and prone to dark circles and puffiness. This can make them look older and weary. There are several home remedies and over-the-counter products that can be helpful in these inflammations.
Applying potato or a cucumber slice that is frozen in the refrigerator help in relieving swelling around the eyes. Cucumber is also a powerful antioxidant that can be helpful in reducing irritation. Also, potatoes contain catecholase, an enzyme that can be helpful in lightening the skin.
Do Not Rub The Eyes
Always focus that while wiping the eyes, do not rub them but blot i.e. dabbing the skin with a product or wipe. This can be of help in reducing friction and inflammation in the area.
Getting adequate sleep and managing stress can be really helpful in keeping the dark circle from surrounding the eyes. Lack of sleep can make the eyes look tired and in turn, make a person look stressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for adults.(4)
Crying is a part of life and for some, it may happen once in a while and quite often for a few. To keep the eyes and skin in a good condition is it important to wipe tears gently and not in a way that causes skin irritation. Also, keep the body hydrated by drinking plenty of water as you are losing it from the eyes.