Stress has a significant impact on our skin, and I want to highlight what can actually happen to your skin when you’re stressed. I usually talk about three types of stress:

1. Physical stress

2. Emotional stress

3. Stress that affects internal organs

When we experience prolonged physical and emotional stress, it impacts our internal organs negatively. They take energy from each other and can’t perform their tasks effectively, which can show up on the skin through various skin problems.

1. Skin Can Become Both Dry and Oily

If your skin becomes drier, it will also age faster. When you’re stressed, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, triggering the release of hormones adrenaline and cortisol. An increase in adrenaline causes you to sweat more as it activates the sweat glands.

The body deals with this by cooling down during stress. Stress can also make your skin oilier, leading to acne. A change in hormone levels, particularly cortisol and adrenaline, can trigger the activity of sebaceous glands, resulting in higher levels of oil that can clog pores and cause acne.

To reduce stress, the best practices are to stay hydrated, practice mindfulness and deep breathing daily, and take restorative breaks throughout the day.

2. Stress Triggers More Inflammation

Stress can cause more inflammation in the skin. We must examine the connection between the skin, mental health, and the gut. When stressed, digestion slows down, negatively affecting the digestive system, especially gut bacteria.

With a weakened defense and reduced motility in the intestines, unhealthy bacteria can easily overgrow, disrupting the natural gut flora and leading to dysbiosis (an imbalance in the gut ecosystem). The gut lining also becomes more sensitive, triggering more inflammation. The gut and skin microbiomes are interconnected, so maintaining a healthy bacterial flora is crucial.

A lack of good bacteria can cause problems and symptoms like psoriasis or eczema. Stress can also worsen ongoing skin symptoms. When adrenaline and cortisol are released, chemical messages are sent to the brain, triggering various processes in the body. Increased adrenaline levels raise heart rate and blood pressure, while cortisol raises blood sugar levels. When the body produces too much cortisol, the immune system weakens, which can worsen existing skin conditions.

Avoid washing with overly drying soaps and include foods that promote the growth of good bacteria, such as various vegetables.

3. Skin Becomes Dull and Loses Its Glow

The skin is the last to receive nutrients, so eat a diet full of vibrant colors.

When you’re stressed, circulation is restricted, further reducing the nutrients available to the skin, causing it to lose its glow and age faster.

Move for at least 30 minutes a day and take breaks in your daily life to pause and relax.

Love, Johanna