The Relationship Between Stress and Skin

If you've ever had a pimple or a cold sore show up right before an important job interview or a big date, then you have already experienced how stress can affect your skin. After all, the signs of stress can be physical as well as mental, and they can appear anywhere on your body.

Stress and Skin

Many skin conditions can be the result of chemical and hormonal changes caused by stress. Here are some examples of the way stress can show on your skin:

  1. Stress can aggravate acne

Your body produces more cortisol when you're tense, and that makes your skin oilier and prone to acne. This research from 2017 and this South Korean study showed how high levels of stress can make acne worse.

  1. Stress can cause rashes

 Too much stress can weaken your immune system and result in skin rashes. If the balance of bacteria on your skin is affected, then rashes may appear and skin inflammation can also lead to conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

  1. Skin aging and bags under the eyes

This is particularly the case for stress that is induced by sleep deprivation. This research shows that the stress can lead to things associated with skin aging, including loss of skin elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s the loss of skin elasticity that can cause the bags under your eyes.

  1. Stress can cause dry skin

Stress can prevent your skin’s outer barrier from functioning properly and reduce it’s ability to retain water. This reduced hydration can lead to itchiness and dryness of the skin.


Stress is unfortunately an unavoidable part of life, however you can reduce the impact it has on your comfort and appearance by taking the necessary action.

Tips for helping and preventing stress-related skin symptoms:

  1. Understand the link

Stress can be the direct cause of what’s going on with your skin. It can also slow down healing regardless of what caused your symptoms. Plus, skin troubles can cause more stress, creating an unfortunate cycle.

  1. Cleanse carefully and with the right product

Scrubbing too hard can damage skin more. Wash gently and be sure to understand your skin type so you can buy products that will benefit your particular skin. Washing with only water is not enough and you should also learn the difference between a face wash vs cleanser.

  1. Try not to scratch your skin

It feels like a tempting way to relieve itching but it’s only temporary and can be counter-productive so resist the urge to scratch. Keeping your hands off your skin helps to prevent scarring, and reduces the risk of spreading any infection. Antihistamines and cold compresses are safer ways to soothe itching and burning.

  1. Talk with your doctor

If your symptoms don’t clear up within a few days, call your doctor for an appointment. That way, you can rule out potentially serious causes like allergies.

  1. See a dermatologist

If your doctor is unable to eliminate your symptoms with treatments such as antibiotics and prescription antihistamines, they may refer you to a dermatologist. They are specialized in treating the skin so can provide further tests and treatments.

  1. Have patience

Skin conditions often need awhile to heal fully. Persist in the researched approach you are taking, follow your doctor’s recommendations and continue taking any prescribed medication, even if you think your skin looks better.


An alternative way to help reduce stress-related skin problems is to help prevent the stress in the first place. There is no magic prevention for stress, but there are things you can do to help mitigate it.

Tips for Helping Your Skin By Preventing Stress

  1. Exercise regularly

Exercise to lower stress

There are many ways to deal with stress constructively, but physical activity is always a great option. Plan workouts you’ll look forward to, like muscle building gym sessions, five aside soccer or playing tennis. Do them regularly. Exercise needs consistency to have a big impact.

  1. Get enough sleep

Proper rest is also essential sot try to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Your sleep habits will improve if you train yourself to go to bed and rise on a consistent schedule. You can then wake up full of energy and adopt a morning routine for success.

  1. Eat a balanced diet

Your skin needs nourishment just like the rest of your body. Avoid crash diets, too much processed food and too many takeaways. Instead make a habit of cooking from scratch and consuming more fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats and the right vitamins and minerals your body needs.

  1. Talk it out

It helps to have someone you can confide in. Call a friend when you need some support and don’t be shy about considering seeing a therapist if you think it would help you deal with recurring issues.

  1. Limit alcohol and caffeine

Cocktails and fancy coffee drinks can be tempting when you’re under pressure. Unfortunately, alcohol and caffeine can also aggravate skin conditions. Drink in moderation or substitute water and herbal teas instead.

  1. Practice relaxation techniques

Meditation to reduce stress

Experiment with methods that encourage refreshment and recovery until you find what works for you. You might want to start a daily meditation practice or take a warm bath when you return home from work. Check out these warrior meditation techniques for inspiration.

  1. Keep a journal

Writing about your days and how you feel is a proven method to relieve stress. A journal can help you to track how your emotions may be affecting your health and your skin.


Life can be tough sometimes, especially in the modern world, but it doesn’t have to take a toll on your overall health and your skin. Protect your skin with regular maintenance, appropriate medical care, and a healthy dose of stress management.

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