The Effects of Stress on Your Skin

Dull, blemished or dry skin could be a sign of stress overload – rather than the usual culprits of unhealthy eating and lifestyle.



Stress affects our health in more ways than one. It can make us develop an actual physical or psychological illness, and unbeknownst to the average person, even our skin is affected.


When we are stressed out, the body releases a hormone called cortisol, which can begin to create lots of problems in the body. Cortisol causes weight gain particularly in your body’s midsection, because its first response is to cause layers of fat to accumulate around our bodily organs. Cortisol damages skin in the following ways:

It causes an overproduction of insulin in the body, making the blood sugar levels rise and causing or exacerbating diabetic problems. This rise in blood sugar will over time break down the skin’s collagen and make age lines more pronounced as your skin becomes less pliable and supple. A rise in blood sugar also tends to dry out your skin, leaving it looking dull, discolored and weathered.


Another of our body’s natural responses to danger or stress is to pump out adrenaline, also known as epinephrine. This hormone is emitted as a stimulant to get you to either flee a dangerous situation or to defend yourself instead, so it has its place and is meant to serve a good purpose. However, that same adrenaline can also rob your skin of its radiant color. You see, when adrenaline kicks in, your blood rushes away from your skin – which is why when a light-complexioned person is really scared, their face may turn pale white “like they’ve seen a ghost.”

Sustained stressful situations keep adrenaline flowing, so that your skin is getting less oxygen and nutrients which the blood supplies. Consequently, your skin will, again, look dull and dry like the life has been sucked out of it – which literally has happened. Stifled blood circulation also means more toxicity in the blood, which further contributes to a sour complexion and, purportedly, cellulite problems.

Simple Stress Busters

Some stress is within your power to avoid or eliminate, and it’s worth it in order to have healthier skin and overall physical and mental health.

You can keep your stress levels to a minimum by getting more sleep. A huge portion of your stress and anxiety can be treated by simply allowing your body to rest and reboot. Allow it to wind down after a hard day or difficult challenge, without any outside distractions – no TV, light, noise or mind racing. Let yourself completely relax. Your body and skin will thank you, and you will just feel so much more at peace. Seven to eight hours a night is sufficient for adults.

Exercise relaxes and recharges you, blasts out toxins, releases “feel-good” endorphins, stimulates blood circulation, and gets rid of stress. Your skin will look brilliant after consistently working up a sweat.

Finding other ways to relax like listening to soft music, praying, meditating, taking a dip in the Jacuzzi or a warm bath, getting a full-body massage, etc. will also reduce stress levels. Bust the stress and look your radiant best!

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