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Can your Mental State Cause Skin Problems?

Can your Mental State Cause Skin Problems

Are dark circles, red patches, and unsightly pimples a concern?

Did you know that these can be classic signs of stress?

Which can age your face far more rapidly than the passage of time.

Think about it: you can tell how someone feels by looking at their face.

Our skin reflects the emotions we are feeling.

When we are embarrassed, we blush, and our skin turns pink.

When we feel angry, blood vessels in our faces expand and become red.

So join us as we look at how stress can affect our skin.

Poor mental health and skin conditions

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 the route of all premature ageing.

Stress and anxiety can trigger certain physical and mental conditions that 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; listed below are skin disorders that are often made more severe by stress:

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

The adverse 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 feel stressed, our body raises cortisol and other chemicals that negatively impact our skin.

Impaired Barrier Function

Stress can also impair your skin’s protective 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 primary 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 dermatitis.

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 overproduce oil in the skin.

Excessive oil blocks skin pores and causes various skin conditions, including acne, breakouts and excessive oiliness, as this study found (1).

Premature Ageing

There is a direct link between stress and accelerated ageing, resulting from thousands of complex hormonal changes in your body.

Exposure to physical or emotional stress 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 (2) found that stress can cause premature ageing.

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.

Fortunately, this study also found that this damage is reversible with self-care methods.

To conclude. The naked truth

Chronic unrelenting stress and anxiety can affect the health and overall appearance of your skin.

This is why learning to manage stress to keep your skin healthy and premature ageing at bay is so important.

When your skin flares up, try to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises, to reduce anxiety and aid in producing the oxytocin hormone, lowering your stress levels.

A good night’s sleep can also do a lot to save your skin; research (3) 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 is important; smoking and excessive alcohol are also critical chronic stressors that impact can negatively impact the health of your skin.

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

So, keep your stress at bay and implement a good skincare routine with lots of topical antioxidant protection to help ward off damaging free radicals.


1. The association between stress and acne among female medical students.

2. Telomeres and Cell Senescence – Size Matters Not

3. Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing?

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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