How Stress Affects Your Skin
Written by Kerry Benjamin
Sleepless nights, appetite changes and racing thoughts: chronic stress takes its toll on your body. But these side effects aren’t isolated to your insides—stress also shows up on your skin. Here are some tell-tale signs your skin is stressed out and what you can do to manage it.
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is your body's response to perceived threat, whether that’s a pressing deadline or a tough family situation. To deal with the threat, your mind activates your central nervous system to release a set of hormones and inflammatory chemicals that can cause your skin to freak out. The problem is, dealing with skin issues can actually cause more stress—leading to a vicious cycle. You can reduce your stress with a mindfulness practice, plus plenty of sleep and an exercise regimen. Manage your skin symptoms with a routine targeted to treat the specific ways in which your skin shows stress.
Stress activates chemicals that keep you on high alert, messing with your sleep cycle. Lack of quality sleep can cause the capillaries under the eyes to tighten and blood to pool below the thin skin underneath the eyes, leaving you with puffy, dark under-eye circles.
What To Do: To calm inflammation and puffiness, try our Ice Roller. Microneedling under the eyes with our Microneedling Face Refining Tool can also help drain puffiness and thicken the epidermis to conceal the dark circles.
Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that causes your skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Cortisol also activates the body’s inflammatory response. The combination of more oil and more inflammation can lead to red, painful breakouts.
To make things worse, stress can pump up anxious behavior like picking your skin— a bad habit which draws bacteria deep into your skin and causes more serious breakouts.
What To Do: When you feel a breakout coming, zap it with our High Frequency Device. The device generates oxygen inside the pore, which can help shorten the lifespan of your breakout. Use a serum rich in epidermal growth factors like our EGF Activating Serum to speed up your skin’s regeneration response and help heal existing breakouts. Three to five times a week, apply a gentle peel like our TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel to rebalance skin— gentle acids like lactic acid and salicylic acid can help control oil production and acne-causing bacteria while reducing inflammation.
The burst of cortisol released during stress can mess with your gut and weaken your immune system, which can cause a flare-up in inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
What To Do: Keep a humidifier in your bedroom to help stressed skin replenish moisture from the air. For instant itch and pain relief, reach for our Inflammation Fighting Ice Roller. Control eczema and psoriasis symptoms by applying our self-neutralizing TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel once a week. A blend of five exfoliating acids dissolves dry, dead skin cells while visibly brightening and putting hydration back into the skin.
DRY, FLAKY SKIN
Cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones lower the production of natural skin hydrators, like hyaluronic acid, making it difficult for your skin to retain moisture.
What To Do: Slough off dry, dead skin with our Dermaplaning Tool to help your hydrating products sink in more effectively. Then, replenish your skin’s moisture with a serum rich in hyaluronic acid like our HA Hydrating Serum. Hyaluronic acid can hold over 1000 times its weight in water; we’ve blended hyaluronic acid with niacinamide and lactic acid to help draw moisture deep into the skin.