How Stress Affects Skin + How To Treat Stressed Skin

How Stress Affects Skin

Stress has an effect on so many parts of your body, including your skin.

There’s evidence to suggest that a big number of skin problems and skin conditions, including dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, can be exacerbated by psychological stress.

Have you ever noticed how you break out more when you’re stressed?

That’s because stress causes your body to make more stress hormones, such as cortisol, which causes the glands in your skin to make more oil. Excess oil on the skin causes your pores to clog which can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, spots and a whole host of other skin problems.

Chronic stress also has a negative impact on our immune system. This suppresses our skin’s immunity and leaves it open to damage from environmental toxins and free radicals. Free radicals are particles that cause damage to healthy cells in our body.

How To Cope With Stress

Reducing stress is vital for keeping your skin in good condition. While it’s near impossible to completely avoid stress there are ways we can manage the effects of stress on our skin.

1. Don’t Neglect Your Skin Care Routine

When we’re stressed often all we want to do is curl up in bed, but it’s important that we don’t neglect our skin. As stressed skin produces more oil, cleansing our face daily is more important than ever to unclog pores and remove that excess oil.

2. Practise Relaxation Techniques

Yoga, tai chi and qigong are all practices that encourage mental focus, deep breathing and flowing movements. While it can be easy to eye roll at someone telling you to do yoga when you’re stressed, honestly just try it and you might be surprised at just how much these relaxation techniques can distract you from racing thoughts. Meditation is another great way to deal with stress.

3. Take Time To Yourself

Spending time relaxing is not a waste of time. Taking time for yourself is essential in reducing stress and your body needs it! Run a bath, read a book or put on your favourite TV show – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Don’t be afraid to say no to plans either. It’s OK to set limits and cancel plans every now and again.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is super important for skin health and stress too. Like stress, a lack of sleep raises cortisol levels and this hormone not only increases oil production but also inflammation. Inflammation breaks down the proteins in your skin that are responsible for a glowing look. A lack of sleep, will lead to dull skin which is prone to breakdowns.

5. Get Regular Exercise

Not only is exercise great for stress relief, it also benefits our skin. Exercise increases our heart rate which improves blood circulation. It helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin which promotes collagen production and helps skin cells renew.

Our Top Skin Care Picks for Stressed Skin

A good skin care routine is essential to ease the effects of stress on the skin. Here are Dermoi’s top skin care picks for stressed skin:


A daily cleanser is vital for unclogging blocked pores caused by stress.

Stress Skin Exfoliator

This multifunctional daily exfoliator transforms into a creamy paste with water that buffs away dead skin cells.
It removes excess oil, unclogs blocked pores and reduces pore size. This exfoliator is both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, and mild enough for daily use.

It also contains Nopal Cacti extracts which are a great source of antioxidants. These are the first line of defense against the damaging free radicals and toxins that your skin is left vulnerable to under the effects of stress.

Stress Skin Face Wash

The Facial Wash is one of PCA Skin’s hero products. Its potent blend of mild AHA and botanical extracts effectively removes environmental impurities and makeup without dehydrating or disrupting the skin barrier.

The Facial Wash Oily/Problem is also great for stressed skin as it removes excess oil, as well as environmental impurities.

Antioxidant Serums

Antioxidants neutralise the damaging free radicals that the skin is left susceptible to when stressed. Antioxidants are vital in avoiding skin damage.

Stress Skin Osmosis

Replenish Antioxidant Infusion Serum is a stand-out product from Osmosis Beauty. It is packed with antioxidants, including vitamin E and green tea extract, that fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.

Added lactic acid also helps to gently resurface stressed skin.

stress skin endocare

C Ferulic Edafence Serum is one of the most powerful serums from Endocare. It delivers the highest level of skin protection against pollution, sunlight & tobacco smoke. It contains high concentrations of antioxidants, including vitamin C and ferulic acid, to protect stressed skin from free radicals.

Face Masks

stress skin mask

This nourishing and replenishing tropical mango mask strengthens the skin’s lipid barrier.

It repairs the damage done by the environment, and aids in the repair of the epidermal barrier, as well as wounds. Infused vitamins also improve skin elasticity, and leave the face feeling hydrated and soothed.

stress skin biretix

This is a soothing clay mask that prevents the build-up of excess oils caused by stress. It’s clinically proven to visibly improve the appearance of congested skin, resulting in clear skin and less shine.

Author: Sam Pennington


    1. Alexopoulos, A. and Chrousos, G., 2016. Stress-related skin disorders. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, 17(3), pp.295-304.
    2. Dhabhar, F., 2006. Acute Stress Enhances While Chronic Stress Suppresses Skin Immunity: The Role of Stress Hormones and Leukocyte Trafficking. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 917(1), pp.876-893.
    3. Garg, A., Chren, M., Sands, L., Matsui, M., Marenus, K., Feingold, K. and Elias, P., 2001. Psychological Stress Perturbs Epidermal Permeability Barrier HomeostasisArchives of Dermatology, 137(1).
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