When You're Stressed, It Shows on Your Skin - Here's How to Help Soothe the Problem

Jessica Harrington

Being under a lot of stress can affect your body in more ways than you probably realize. Stress impacts your sleep, your mood, and your skin, among many other things. So, when a sudden, increasingly stressful event occurs, it can send your skin into a fit (which, we all know causes more stress). It's a vicious cycle.

"Everyone is different, and everyone reacts differently to the various stressors that arrive in their days," said Tammy Fender, aesthetician and holistic practitioner. "So often when we are emotionally drained, or exhausted, or both, the skin shows it." Breakouts, redness, and rashes are just a few of the characteristics of stressed skin, but what causes this flare-up to occur in the first place?

What Causes Your Skin to Become "Stressed"?

"Stress causes unbalancing of the immune system, which allows activation of inflammatory diseases, such as rosacea, acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis, which reduce your ability to fight off viral, bacterial, yeast, fungal, and parasite infections," said Carl Thornfeldt, dermatologist and CEO and founder of Episciences, Inc. In addition to inflammatory diseases, stress also impacts oil and sweat production (hello, acne), as well as an increased sensitivity of the nerves which can result in itchiness, burning, prickly, or pain sensations. "Stress can contribute to a change in the hormonal balance, which can trigger irritation and the eruption of redness, or even a rash," said Fender.

How to Soothe Stressed Skin

In an ideal world, we would be able to snap our fingers and remove the external stress from our lives, but unfortunately that's not possible. Instead, it's all about making small changes to combat stress. "As a holistic practitioner, my approach is to treat stressed skin as a physical, emotional, and spiritual condition," said Fender. That's where practicing self-care and taking care of your body comes in. "This can mean switching to plant-based skin care, getting better rest, eating more organic raw fruits and vegetables, and exercising."

From a skin-specific approach, to reduce inflammation you need to repair the skin barrier. That's where best skin-care practices come in. If your skin is inflamed, take a look at the products you're using on it. "Avoid harsh ingredients and products, but focus on gently repairing the skin barrier and calming inflammation," said Dr. Thornfeldt, who recommended the Epionce Enriched Firming Mask for its calming and soothing properties. Look for products that contain calming ingredients like aloe vera, calendula, chamomile, colloidal oats, centella asiatica.

"If there is any concern, see a dermatologist," said Dr. Thornfeldt. A skin consultation can help your doctor develop a routine or solution that works for you.