The Connection Between Stress And Your Skin

Written by Kinnari AsharJul 29, 2022
The connection between stress and your skin

The effects of stress on your skin cannot be stated enough! Learn more about the various stress effects on skin and how to treat them.

The misconception that stress only affects mental health is commonplace.  Not many know that stress can also physically affect your body. Some of the serious effects of stress include altering organ function, imbalanced hormones, and disturbed eating patterns. Another important but manageable one being its effect on your skin! Even after carefully hydrating and using the best products to care for the skin, it continues to look dull if you are not mentally relaxed.  

Stress can also leave marks on the face. It can manifest itself in many ways including taking visible forms like wrinkles and acne. Keep reading to learn some more effects of stress on your skin in detail.  

The connection between mind and skin 

Skin issues can develop or flare up when you're experiencing psychological changes; conditions such as stress, depression, and anxiety can contribute to these changes. Stress stimulates your sympathetic nervous system to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into your body. Cortisol causes the skin to produce more oil, clogging pores and causing acne breakouts. The increased levels of these hormones that result from chronic stress can negatively affect your skin. 

Moreover, psychological conditions can increase inflammation in the body. Inflammation occurs when your immune system detects a threat. When under stress, the immune system overreacts and sends out an inflammatory response, which ideally helps protect our bodies from microbes and to heal wounds. 

The gut-skin connection can also contribute to inflammation caused by stress. The amount of bacteria in the gut can also be disturbed due to inflammation caused by stress.  Often, a flare-up of psoriasis or eczema can also be an indication of internal inflammation. Psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea are chronic skin conditions that rise more easily when stressed. 

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The effects of stress on your skin 

Stress can negatively affect the health of your skin, and the evidence is overwhelming. Stress affects your skin in several ways, including:  

  1. Causes breakouts  

Stress triggers the release of cortisol, which increases oil production on the skin and can cause acne. Hormonal changes caused by stress can lead to hives and rashes, resulting in inflamed, red skin.  

  1. Dryness of the skin  

The level of adrenaline and cortisol rises when you're stressed, and as a result you sweat. Due to the sweat glands being activated often while under stress, the skin loses water quickly causing dryness. 

  1. Aggravates diseases and skin conditions  

Stress can worsen skin conditions, including psoriasis, acne, and atopic dermatitis. Under stress, the inflammation on the inside resurfaces, and it manifests on the outside. Stress can exacerbate the condition and worsen your skin's appearance.  

  1. Thinning of the nails 

Stress can weaken the nails easily. The result is brittleness, thinness, ridging, peeling, breaking, and slow growth. 

  1. Visible hair loss 

The condition - telogen effluvium can cause hair loss and thinning due to stress. You may experience brittle hair and scaly scalp, although this is only temporary. 

  1. Slows down healing of wounds  

Excess cortisol and catecholamine are released when you are stressed, which slows wound healing. It alters the immune system and inhibits cell growth.  

  1. Early signs of ageing  

Stress, if unmanaged, can lead to premature ageing of the skin. The skin may be less supple, your complexion may appear pale, and you may have fine lines and wrinkles. 

How to keep your skin stress-free 

It is important to adopt positive skincare tactics that will provide your skin with a fresh start if you’ve been experiencing stress. Some of the important tips are as follows: 

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1. Moisturise your skin well 

Keep your skin moisturised to avoid dryness. Use a hydrating moisturiser twice daily like the crowd-favourite Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser. It is enriched with Pro-Vitamin B5, E and Borage Seed Oil which helps to restore moisture and repair dry skin. 

2. Use the right skin product  

Every skin type is different, and so is the need. Make sure to use products meant for your skin type. Read labels to find out which product serves which type of skin and pick accordingly. If you have oily skin that develops acne frequently, you may even consult a dermatologist for better results. 

3. Keep your skin hydrated 

Keep your skin supple and hydrated by drinking ample water. Staying hydrated reduces wrinkles, creases, and other signs of ageing that might appear prematurely. The cleansing properties of water help keep your skin healthy and glowing naturally.  

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4. Don't overexpose yourself to UV rays 

Limit your exposure to the sun. Don't exercise when it's too hot outside. Make sure to wear sunscreen that has a minimum of 30 SPF while stepping out. Try out the Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30 Sunscreen - it contains only non-nano Zinc Oxide which is an invisible, weightless formula that blends into the skin easily without leaving a white cast.  

5. Make sure you eat right 

Consume a healthy diet with a good balance of all essential nutrients. Whenever you are considering big dietary changes, make sure to talk to your doctor before implementing them. 

6. Take steps to reduce stress 

Keep in touch with friends, family and find a way to unwind every day. Take regular walks or exercise to distract yourself from worrying. Keep a regular sleep schedule and get up at the same time every day. 

We cannot avoid stress completely sometimes, but we can surely manage it well. Chronic stress can be seen in the form of acne, dry skin, grey hair, and much more. The key to preventing these signs of premature ageing is to reduce avoidable stress in your life and learn to manage it well. 


How does stress affect the skin? 

Eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis are all conditions that may be triggered or aggravated by stress. 

Can stress dry out your skin? 

Stress weakens the skin barrier, which prevents it from retaining water. Dehydration of the skin may also be caused by excessive sweating. Keeping your skin hydrated under stress will keep it healthy and smooth. 

What can I do to fix my skin when it is stressed? 

  1. Find ways to relieve stress during the day 

  1. Treat stress-induced breakouts as soon as possible 

  1. Keep your skin calm by avoiding excess sugar 

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to soothe stressed skin 

  1. You can ease skin stress by drinking black tea 

  1. Stressed skin requires more water, so drink up  

  1. Give your skin some extra TLC 

  1. Don't ignore your daily skincare routine 

  1. Help your skin recover by using the right products 

  1. When your skin is stressed, don't use new products 

We hope this has helped you understand your skin well when under stress. Keep your stress in check to always have naturally glowing skin.  

Kinnari Ashar

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