Could Underlying Stress Be Damaging Your Skin?

Do you often feel like you’re under pressure? Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or constantly on edge? If so, your skin might be paying the price. 

It’s no secret that stress can take a toll on your mental health, but did you know it can also have a negative impact on your physical appearance? Recent studies suggest that chronic stress can have a negative effect on our skin, leading to dryness, acne and premature ageing.

It’s vital to address your stress and mental wellness as part of a holistic approach to skincare. As always, knowledge is the first step, so let’s explore the impact of stress on your skin, what signs to look out for, and how you can reverse the damage. 

How stress affects your skin

Whether you’ve had a tough week at work or have been battling long-term chronic stress, your skin may be showing signs that all is not well. Your skin is your largest organ and is often the first indicator of underlying health problems, including stress. 

Our brains are hard-wired to respond to danger, and physiologically respond the same way to being chased by a lion as to missing a deadline. When you feel stressed, your nervous system releases a hormone called cortisol in response. This “stress hormone” wreaks havoc in your body, leading to all manner of skin issues. 

The link between your mental well-being and your complexion is strong but not necessarily linear. In fact, there are four very different ways that stress can affect your skin. 

  • Cortisol can create an overproduction of sebum in your skin glands, which can lead to acne breakouts.
  • Cortisol can reduce the efficiency of your immune system, causing your skin to be more reactive to environmental triggers.
  • Stress can impact the balance of bacteria in your gut, causing inflammation. This can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, leading to flare-ups.
  • Stress is associated with an increase in “free radicals”, which attack healthy cells and cause oxidative damage. Free radicals, which are also produced due to pollution and sun exposure, have been shown to cause premature ageing.
  • Stress may cause you to feel nervous or anxious, making you more likely to pick at irregularities in your skin until it becomes red or breaks.

How to identify stress-related skin problems

Stress-related skin problems can often be difficult to identify, as they present in the same way as ordinary skin complaints, regardless of the underlying cause. That being said, if you’re experiencing a new, unexplained skin complaint, or are battling an ongoing skin issue that keeps resurfacing, it may well be stress-induced.

When patients come to me with irritation, inflammation or breakouts that don’t have an apparent cause – such as hormonal fluctuations or changes in skincare – my next step is always to explore whether your lifestyle could be an influencing factor.  

We all face stress in our daily lives, but if yours is starting to get on top of your physical health, it’s time to take action. 

Treatment options for stress-related skin problems

As an aesthetician, I’m passionate about skincare, but I’m also a huge believer in the importance of overall health as part of any skincare strategy. I can recommend targeted treatments to reduce or reverse the impact of stress on your skin, but to prevent them from coming back, I highly recommend making subtle lifestyle changes to help bring your body into equilibrium.  

Mindfulness and exercise are incredibly effective at lowering cortisol levels, while a diet rich in antioxidants helps to counteract free radicals. A fantastic product that you may also want to consider is ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost by The Beauty Chef. This elixir improves your skin using antioxidant-rich vitamin C and probiotics to restore your gut health. You won’t find this wonder-product in our online store, so pop in and visit us to grab your bottle and feel the benefits for yourself. 

Whether you’re struggling with rosacea, acne, fine lines or irritation, the therapists at Dermal Glow will be happy to help. 

Call today to book a consultation, and together we can get your skin back at its best.