Your psychological health and your skin are connected. Find out some of the effects of stress on your skin.


Stress is the body’s chemical response to a variety of triggers. Stress comes from many different sources, including your environment, your body, and even your own thoughts.

In small doses, stress is incredibly healthy. If you’re able to adequately manage stress, it can push you to do your best or perform higher than you normally would. Think about a running race. If you have the stress of other runners and a timer, you’re going to run a lot faster than if you were running by yourself.

In large or lengthy doses, stress takes a huge toll on your body. Think about running a race every single day. You’d probably be very sore and burnt out very quickly.


Psychodermatology addresses the interaction between mind and skin. You might not think that your mind and your skin are connected, but they are.

A 2007 study found, “Psychiatry is more focused on the “internal” nonvisible disease, and dermatology is focused on the “external” visible disease. In more than one third of dermatology patients, effective management of the skin condition involves consideration of associated psychologic factors.2 Dermatologists have stressed the need for psychiatric consultation in general, and psychological factors may be of particular concern in chronic intractable dermatologic conditions, such as eczema, prurigo, and psoriasis.”

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Evidence in your skin

An understanding of your psychological state, emotional triggers, and stress responses can be a great way to understand your skin. Let’s look at some of the effects of stress on skin.

Impedes sleep

Stress can make it hard for you to relax. If you can’t properly relax, deep sleep may be very difficult. Your body heals itself during deep sleep. It’s the only time that all your energy goes to recovery. If you don’t get enough deep sleep each night, your skin will not be able to heal itself from all the stress that it experiences throughout the day.

Interferes with daily skincare

Stress is likely to throw off your daily routine. If you’re stressed, you’re more likely to forgo your extensive skincare routine and settle for a makeup wipe or nothing at all. We’ve all been there. Sometimes it happens! If you’re feeling stressed, try to use skincare to relax. Do your favorite mask or spend a little extra time washing your face. You’ll feel more relaxed and your skin will be a little healthier.

Affects your eating habits

Stress can make an unhealthy impact on your diet. Many are prone to overeating when feeling stressed. Others cope by not eating at all. Changes in your diet manifest themselves on the skin. Strive to eat healthy foods when experiencing stress!

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Aggravates existing skin problems


If you struggle with acne, it might be in response to stress. Your skin breaks out if you have excess of the stress hormone cortisol. Often, if you already have oily, acne-prone skin, more of the stress hormone will only aggravate your skin conditions.  When the body is under stress, it doesn’t have the same ability to heal itself, so acne scars are more likely to form.


A recent study found that people with inflammatory skin diseases like eczema are more susceptible to mental health issues because of the way that their bodies communicate with their brains during an inflammatory response. Stress often causes eczema flareups, and those flareups cause more stress. The cycle continues.


Much like eczema, psoriasis also causes a stress flareup cycle. When you experience stress, the body will send an inflammatory response to cope with that stress. People with psoriasis experience an overcompensated inflammatory response. That’s what causes the skin condition.


Doctors still don’t know what causes rosacea! But they do know that sudden changes in emotion are triggers—including stress—and that they can result in an immediate flareup.

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