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How Stress Can Affect Your Skin

Stress is an unavoidable part of life and while it is inevitable that you’ll encounter some form of stress at some point, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn techniques to help treat the common symptoms. Today, we will be focusing on how stress can affect the skin and a few ways you can help to reduce stress and effectively deal with problem skin.

Why does stress affect the skin?

Now it’s time for the science part; when we feel stressed, our body reacts by realising a steroid known as cortisol along with a few other hormones. These hormones along with the cortisol send a message to the sebaceous glands basically telling them to produce more oil. This means that you may become more susceptible to breakouts. However, cortisol also affects the immune system and can make you more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu and can increase your susceptibility to allergens too.

How does it affect the skin?

If you have existing skin conditions, stress can exacerbate these problems and significantly increase your risk of contracting infections. It can also impair your skin’s natural function by drying out the surface; breaking up the outer layer while cells in the skin begin to shrink and lipids evaporate.

Bad habits are another factor that can worsen skin conditions, especially if you’re stressed. If you have a tendency to pick away at skin, rub or scratch your eyes and face or even bite your lip, you’re putting yourself at risk of not only skin damage but also illness due to your immune system being significantly weakened.

Sadly, according to stylelist, past studies have indicated that leading a stressful life can actually increase the chance of developing skin cancer later on in life and it has been proven that stress can help the cancer to spread at a faster rate in mice that were exposed to UV lights. Though a scary thought, the good news is that most of us already know how to deal with stress and know exactly what stresses us out so we can work through each problem separately. For those whose skin is suffering as a result of stress, here are a few tips on how to manage your stress level:

  • Follow an adequate skincare routine; this can not only help you feel better about yourself, it takes care of your skin even when times get tough. So, it’s time to grab your favourite Dermalogica product, cheap sponge and get going!
  • Set time aside to engage in your favourite activities. Doing something you enjoy can help to significantly reduce stress levels, even if it’s just relaxing in the bath or taking part in your favourite sport!
  • Try to set limits alongside your goals in life; remember, it’s okay to say no!
  • Engage in regular exercise to refresh your mind
  • Try a few techniques to help deal with your stress; this may include yoga or seeing a doctor for a bit of advice on what would be best
  • Get plenty of sleep so that you wake up ready to get going in the morning!


These are just a few helpful tips on how you can manage stress in your life. 

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