Food & Fitness

What Stress Can Do to Harm Your Skin

You know what stress can feel like if you’ve ever gone out for a job interview or a first date with someone you really like. And you know that stress can affect your skin by showing up as a pimple right smack in front for all to see. The signs of stress can be physical as well as mental, and they can appear anywhere on your body.


Many skin conditions are the result of chemical and hormonal changes caused by stress. That can include rashes, hives, and pimples. For example, your body produces more cortisol when you’re tense, and that makes your skin oily and prone to acne.


While stress is an unavoidable part of life, you may be able to reduce the impact it has on your comfort and appearance.


Try these tips for treating and preventing stress-related skin symptoms:


Treating Stress-Related Skin Symptoms


  1. Understand the interactions. Stress can be the direct cause of what’s going on with your skin. It can also slow down healing regardless of what caused your symptoms. Plus, skin troubles can cause more stress, creating an unfortunate cycle.
  2. Cleanse carefully. Scrubbing too hard can damage skin more. Wash gently and be sure to select products for your skin type.
  3. Relieve itching. Resist the urge to scratch. Keeping your hands off your skin helps to prevent scarring, and reduces the risk of spreading any infection. Antihistamines and cold compresses are safer ways to soothe itching and burning.
  4. Talk with your doctor. If your symptoms don’t clear up within a few days, call your doctor for an appointment. That way, you can rule out potentially serious causes like allergies.
  5. See a specialist. If your doctor is unable to eliminate your symptoms with treatments such as antibiotics and prescription antihistamines, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist. Seeing a dermatologist can provide further tests and treatments for what’s going on with your skin. Something I know all too well. I have extremely sensitive skin and make it a point to see a dermatologist when needed.
  6. Take your time. Skin conditions often need awhile to heal fully. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and continue taking medication as prescribed even if you think your skin looks better.


Preventing Stress-Related Skin Symptoms


  1. Exercise regularly. There are many ways to deal with stress constructively. Physical activity is a great option. Plan workouts you’ll look forward to, like dance classes or playing tennis.
  2. Sleep well. Proper rest is also essential. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Go to bed and rise on a consistent schedule. Not only will this assist with skin issues, you will wake-up looking & feeling refreshed.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Your skin needs nourishment just like the rest of your body. Avoid crash diets and too much processed food. Consume at least 7 servings of vegetable and fruits a day, along with adequate protein and healthy fats.
  4. Talk it out. It helps to have someone you can confide in. Call a friend when you need validation and support. Consider seeing a therapist if you think it would help you deal with recurring issues.
  5. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Cocktails and fancy coffee drinks can be tempting when you’re under pressure. Unfortunately, alcohol and caffeine can also aggravate skin conditions. If you’ve seen my Instagram, you know I love my fair share of coffee. But, when I’m having an issue with stress coming on I limit my coffee intake to insure I don’t have any skin irritations. Try drinking alcohol & caffeine in moderation or substitute water and herbal teas instead.
  6. Practice relaxation techniques. Experiment with methods that encourage refreshment and recovery until you find what works for you. You might want to start a daily meditation practice or take a warm bath when you return home from work. Find a relaxation technique that works great for you.
  7. Keep a journal. Writing about your feelings may also be useful. A journal can help you to track how your emotions may be affecting your skin.


Rough days at the office don’t have to take a toll on your epidermis. You should always protect your skin with regular maintenance, appropriate skin care and a healthy dose of stress management.



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