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Can your Mental State Cause Skin Problems?

Can your Mental State Cause Skin Problems

Dark circles, red patches, and unsightly pimples a concern?

Or maybe it what looks to be a whole new set of crow’s feet?

Many of these can be a classic sign of stress, which can age your face far more rapidly than the passage of time.

It’s familiar, vicious cycle stress affects your beauty and can cause skin problems, and when you’re not happy with your appearance, you tend not to be happy in general, and then you find you can’t cope with stress easily.

Then stress comes back to take a bite out of your beauty – it’s a constant loop.

People can tell how you are feeling by just observing your face? Our skin can actually reflect the emotions we are feeling. When we are embarrassed, we blush, and our skin turns pink when we feel angry blood vessels in your face expand, and our face becomes red.

How poor mental health adversely causes skin concerns

There is a deep connection between our face and mental state.

Our body naturally releases cortisol in small amounts – a coping mechanism that helps us deal with stress. Still, when we are under a lot of stress and anxiety our body becomes exposed to high cortisol levels, which can cause breakouts, acne and chronic inflammation, which is at the route of all premature ageing.

Stress and anxiety can trigger certain physical and mental conditions and significantly affect our skin health and cause numerous skin conditions.

Many of us find comfort in eating sugary foods or turn to poor lifestyle practices like drinking or smoking when we are feeling low or under stress, all of which can negatively impact our skin’s appearance and health.

When we are suffering from poor mental health, our immune system also becomes weak — the whole chemistry of our body changes and affects our entire body, including our skin.

Common stress-related skin problems

Both psychologists and dermatologists believe that poor mental health can cause skin concerns –  acne, dryness or breakouts; they all worsen when our mental health is poor. Listed below are skin disorders, that are often made all the more severe from stress:

  • acne
  • breakouts
  • eczema
  • rosacea
  • hives
  • herpes
  • pruritus
  • psoriasis
  • hair loss
  • inflammation

The negative effects of stress

Chronic stress and anxiety create hormonal imbalances in your body. The primary function of our skin is to prevent germs and bacteria from entering our body. When we are feeling stressed, our body raises certain chemicals that can make our skin breakout.

Impaired Barrier Function

Stress can negatively affect the skin’s permeability barrier function and homeostasis. The lipid barrier creates a surface seal essential for the maintenance of hydration and protection against microbial infection. Disruption of the skin barrier function can lead to several common skin conditions, including transepidermal water loss and poor lipid synthesis.

Poor wound recovery

One of the skin’s major functions of our skin is physical protection and wound repair upon injury. Extensive research has revealed that chronic systemic corticosteroids harm all three phases of wound healing.

Eczema and Psoriasis

Psychological stress creates a vicious cycle. Extreme stress on the body activates inflammation and immune players, causing chronic and relapsing inflammatory skin diseases often associated with eczema and itch.

Acne and Breakouts

Acne is one such problem which is common in both adults and teens. When you’re under stress or anxiety, the sebaceous glands present in the body overproduces oil in the skin. An excessive amount of oil tends to block skin pores and causes various skin conditions, including acne, breakouts and excessive oiliness.

Premature Ageing

There is a direct link between stress and accelerated ageing, resulting from thousands of complex hormonal changes in your body. When we are exposed to physical or emotional stress, this leads to elevated levels of a chemical called interleukin-6,  which reduces the production of the anti-ageing hormone known as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).

A recent study is proving that stress can lead to premature ageing. The telomeres found at the ends of deoxyribonucleic acid are necessary for DNA replication and cellular growth. When we become stressed, telomeres are damaged, and cell growth is inhibited. What was found is that stress can significantly accelerate ageing; fortunately, this study also found that this damage is reversible with self-care methods.


Chronic unrelenting stress and anxiety can affect the health and overall appearance of our skin. Therefore, it is recommended to manage stress naturally to keep skin healthy; we appreciate this is easier said than done but try to become aware of the link; when you feel your skin flare-up, try to incorporate some meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises to control your stress – deep breathing exercises reduce anxiety and aids in the production of the oxytocin hormone.

A good night’s sleep can also save your skin – research has found that poor quality sleepers showed increased signs of intrinsic skin ageing, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced elasticity.

Making the right lifestyle choices are important. Smoking and excessive alcohol have been confirmed as critical chronic stressors that impact skin ageing significantly.

Environmental assaults including UV, smog and toxins are critical chronic stressors that impact skin ageing, inducing Vitamin E depletion and lipid peroxidation.

So be sure to implement a good skincare routine, with lots of topical antioxidant protection.

Keen to read more about the connection between your skin and mood? The article looks at depression and the connection with the condition acne vulgaris.


One thought on “Can your Mental State Cause Skin Problems?

  1. HRT ICD 10 says:

    Recently, I began to notice that my skin condition has become noticeably worse. I started to get acne, although even as a teenager I did not have acne. Since I work with people, stress is a habit in my profession. It seemed to me that skin problems arise from the fact that I select the wrong skin care products, but now I understand what was the matter. After reading your article, I highlighted a few principles for me that I will follow now. So many thanks for the material.

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