How Stress Can Affect Skin
From disrupting sleep to weakening the immune system, it’s no secret that stress can affect the body both physically and mentally. Stress can also show itself on your skin. “When you’re run down, your skin reflects that,” says Dr. Rebecca Kazin, a Washington DC-based board-certified dermatologist. “It’s not as healthy, not as shiny,” she says.
“Generally, stress worsens whatever condition you already have,” Dr. Kazin says, listing chronic, inflammatory skin conditions including psoriasis and rosacea as examples.
Acne is another condition that can be exacerbated by stress. A spike in cortisol, the hormone that your body releases when you’re experiencing stress, can cause breakouts.
Other side effects, like dull or tired-looking skin (read: under-eye bags and pronounced lines and wrinkles) are often exacerbated due to stress-induced habits and are not a direct result of the stress itself. For example, if you’re stressed, you may not be sleeping well, eating a balanced diet or spending as much time taking care of your skin.
To prevent and treat the effects of stress on skin, the short answer is to stay calm and avoid it in the first place, but that’s not always an option, especially during a global pandemic. To help improve the appearance of skin when you’re stressed, focus on calming, hydrating ingredients and use spot treatments (like the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo) if dealing with acne.
We also recommend looking for skin-care products specifically formulated to target signs of stress, like the Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer. The lightweight moisturizer contains rose gallica and chamomile extracts to help target skin redness, the look of fatigue and dehydration.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn