How Stress Affects Your Skin (And Vice Versa)


Stress? Never heard of her (I wish). In reality, we all seem a bit stressed lately. Whether it’s the burnout from working straight through a pandemic, panic from rising inflation costs, or anxiety about potential WW3, we’ve all got a lot on our plates right now. Have you noticed your skin breaking out more than normal lately? That’s because stress has a direct impact on your skin (technically it affects all of your body, but I’m focusing on skin today). What does stress do to your skin & is there anything you can do about it? Keep reading to find out. 

Stress affects your skin, your skin affects your stress

You’re probably aware of some of the effects that stress has on your skin, whether that’s a particularly bad acne breakout, an eczema patch that won’t go away, or just turning red & blotchy when you’re anxious. But did you know that your skin can get stressed on its own? And in turn, that can make your brain even more stressed? It’s like a crappy skin/stress Merry-Go-Round, and it happens because your skin is exposed to more ecological stressors than any other organ. Your skin can get stressed due to a number of factors, including UV light, temperature, and humidity levels. Once this happens, your skin starts producing stress hormones and sending them back to the brain. And then, you guessed it, you feel stressed! 

Conversely, when you feel stressed, your nervous system puts out stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol causes your skin to produce more oils, in turn causing breakouts and other skin issues. Not only that, but your skin barrier gets disrupted when you’re stressed AND takes longer to heal than normal. Since a good skin barrier is imperative to the health of your skin (and other organs), you can experience a whole host of skin problems due to its disruption, like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. 

Well that’s depressing, what can be done about it?

I’m sure you’ve all heard a million stress-reducing techniques at this point but here are some more: go outside! Barefoot if you can. It sounds dumb but it actually feels so good and there’s evidence that being barefoot in grass reduces stress levels almost instantly!

Additionally, meditation has been shown to help psoriasis sufferers, and studies have shown that meditation can reduce overall levels of catecholamine, a stress hormone. I’d highly recommend the UCLA Meditation App (free!) or the visual meditation app called Mesmerize ($50/year).

And last but not least, give your body the nutrients it needs! Stress can cause us to stop eating or eat nutrient-poor foods, both of which will only make the problem worse. For those of us with itchy, painful, stressful, skin, try the S.O.S. Gummy. It’s designed to Soothe Our Skin from the inside out. It won’t fix all of your stress-related issues, but it’ll at least make sure you’re getting some of the nutrients your skin needs. 

Written by:
dineka ringling,
embody marketing manager