How Stress and Anxiety Affects the Skin

Are you tired of constant breakouts on your face, the uneven skin tone, the dark circles under your eyes that make you lose your self-confidence? Are you missing that glow that made you look fresh and ready to glide through the day? You might be tempted to increase your water intake, eat healthier, or go to a doctor and get medications to improve the health of your skin. But have you thought about addressing the problem at the root cause? The root cause of many of your skin-related issues is stress and anxiety. Yes, you heard it right. Stress and anxiety are significant factors in the deterioration of your skin. Let us find out how exactly do these affect the health of your skin.

The connection between stress and skin problems:

Stress and anxiety affect different organs in our body, which eventually leads to skin-related problems. For starters, stress causes imbalances in the number of bacteria in your gut, leading to inflammation in the gut. Inflammation then appears as acne and rashes on your skin. 

Furthermore, when you are stressed or anxious, your brain releases hormones like cortisol into the body. Due to cortisol, the glands in your skin release more oil, which clogs your pores and leads to more breakouts and acne. 

Moreover, a stressed person is more likely to sleep less, drink less water, eat less, and engage in other unhealthy activities. These all then contribute to the adverse effects showing through your skin. 

The eventual effect is that this stress will show up on your face in different forms and cause various skin-related issues. 

Skin issues stemming from stress and anxiety:

Dry skin: The exterior layer of your skin contains proteins and fats that work together to act as a barrier from the environment. They also play a crucial role in water retention and keeping your skin hydrated and looking fresh. Undue stress and anxiety are known to interfere with this function of your skin's outer barrier and cause fluctuations in water retention. This way, stress leads to dry and flaky skin, which looks dull due to no hydration. 

Acne: As mentioned above, when you get stressed or anxious, the hypothalamus in your brain produces cortisol. Cortisol stimulates excessive oil release from the glands in your skin. This oil blocks your pores and leads to extreme breakouts. 

Dark circles under your eyes: As you saw above, stress and anxiousness can also lead to a lack of sleep and disturbed sleeping patterns. These lead to reduced elasticity in your skin muscles, which eventually results in bags and dark circles due to pigmentation under your eyes.

Wrinkles: Similar to how stress causes dark circles, it also leads to more wrinkles on your skin. You engage in a lot of muscle activity when you are stressed, like furrowing your brows which leads to wrinkles forming on your forehead. The reduced elasticity in your skin also contributes to overall wrinkle formation. 

Rashes: As mentioned above, stress causes an imbalance in your gut, affecting the bacteria present there and causing inflammation. Furthermore, anxiety also affects your immune system because it weakens it, which can also lead to inflammation. The overall consequence of inflammation is the formation of rashes on your skin. 

Damage to your lips: During stress and anxiety, you develop certain nervous habits to keep yourself from getting too anxious. One of these habits is to chew your lip which causes damage to your lips and makes them sore over a more extended period. 

How to deal with stress and anxiety:

Now that you know how harmful stress and anxiety can be to your skin, precisely what ways these two fester on your skin. Let's now look at how you can deal with the stress to make it better for your skin. 


The most important and common way to deal with stress is exercise. Exercise will help you reduce stress because of the hormones released by your brain during exercise that target depression and anxiety. Furthermore, exercise also improves your sleeping and eating patterns and makes you feel refreshed and energized. All of these things ultimately lead to a reduction in your stress level.

Talking to others: 

Talking to others can be extremely helpful when it comes to facing your stress and anxiety. A friend, a professional therapist, or a family member can be eye-opening as they can guide you logically and emotionally. You lower the burden on yourself by sharing it with someone else. 

Take out time for yourself:

This step is also crucial to good mental health and decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Take out time for yourself in different ways. Engage in activities that make you happy, that you want to do. Meditate for even just 10 minutes in your day. Make yourself your number one priority. 

Adopt a healthy lifestyle:

Start living healthy as a healthy body means a healthy mind which means a less anxious and stressed you. Eat a good healthy diet; include nuts, fruits, and vegetables in your daily diet. Drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated and fresh. Keep your sleeping pattern healthy as well. Sleep on time earlier in the night and wake up early to be productive throughout the day. Also, sleep for the recommended 8 hours. Any less sleep will make you cranky and more susceptible to taking stress. 

Have a skincare routine:

To further cater to the skin issues caused by stress, take care of your skin through an adequately organized skincare routine. Wash and cleanse your face when you wake up and before going to bed. If you don't want to invest in any masks, serums, or creams, look over to the natural ingredients like lemon, milk, egg, honey, and sugar to make masks that will help your skin. Moreover, moisturizer should be your best friend, and so should be a sunblock to protect your skin from the horrors the UV rays of the sun can cause. 

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