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This is What Stress is Doing to Your Skin

black woman looking ahead

Stress. We’ve all felt it before, to many different degrees and for various reasons. In the times that we live in, it seems to be unavoidable and more about how you choose to handle it. When stress gets out of hand, it begins to take a toll on your mental health, think anxiety, depression and lack of motivation. It also takes a toll on us physically and our bodies go into overdrive, causing common symptoms like insomnia, loss or excess of appetite, digestion problems, headaches and the list goes on. But what about your skin?

How Stress Affects Your Skin?

Stress is defined as ‘great worry caused by difficult situations’. So if your mind is constantly plagued by draining thoughts of worry and fear, this then goes on to impact how your body functions, which leads to the secretion of stress hormones like cortisol. Research has proven that your skin isn’t only able to immediately perceive stress, it can also become a target of stress response. To put it simply, stress shows up on our skin.

Why your skin is important

It’s important to maintain healthy skin, even during times of stress as this is your body’s largest organ (yes, your skin is an organ) and it helps to protect you by:

  • Regulating body temperature.

  • Removing minerals and waste through sweat.

  • Forming a part of your immune system via bacterial colonies.

  • Preventing your body from drying out.

woman, girl looking stressed fed up at the computer

Skin conditions that are impacted by stress

The rampant release of stress hormones within our bodies tends to cause inflammation. Inflammation is linked to skin conditions/diseases like:

  • Acne.

  • Atopic and contact dermatitis.

  • Psoriasis.

  • Pruritus (intense itchiness).

  • Erythema (redness).

How stress affects your skin barrier

The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of your skin. This surface which is made of proteins and lipids is what helps to keep hydration locked in and also fight against microbial infection. Research has shown that stress can affect the skin barrier as it can cause higher rates of transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Stress has also been shown to impact the formation of slight wrinkles. Stress, anxiety and depression have also been linked to delayed wound healing due to increased cortisol levels. Chronic stress decreases your body’s immunoprotection, which means your skin is more susceptible to reactions, inflammation and infections. Too much cortisol can also increase oil production in the skin, which worsens acne and breaks down collagen, a protein which helps our skin to stay firm and stops it from sagging.

Close up of white woman skin, brown hair

Signs that your skin is stressed out

Common symptoms that stress is affecting your skin include:

  • Dullness

  • Sagging

  • Redness

  • Rashes

  • Itchiness

  • Wrinkles

  • Eye bags

  • Acne flare ups

  • Flaky/dry skin

It’s so important to nurture your skin as it is affected not only by external aggressors, but things like stress too. Clinical studies prove that plant oils help in the repairing of damaged skin and compromised skin barriers. The Superior Complexion Antioxidant Serum contains a combination of anti-inflammatory ingredients that also have high contents of linoleic acid which aids in skin repair.


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