How does stress affect my skin?

Unfortunately experiencing stress in our lives is inevitable at some point. It is well known that stress isn’t good for us and can have negative effects on our mental health and increase your risk of developing cardiovascular problems but did you know stress can affect your physical appearance too? 

Stress can begin from anywhere, changes to your lifestyle or circumstance is a common culprit. Financial pressure, family issues and often hormonal changes, such as menopause, are all factors in causing stress which in turn affects your skin health.

How does stress affect your skin?

Just like the heart and lungs, skin cells get stressed although it is often overlooked and unnoticed as it isn’t physically painful.

When you are stressed, the body produces excess cortisol, known as the ‘stress hormone’. This hormone has a huge impact on the body and disrupts normal processes including your immune system, blood pressure, and cell regeneration. Stress causes a build-up of toxins within your skin leading to increased sensitivity, acne and flare-ups of existing conditions such as rosacea. Cortisol causes your skin cells to become oxidised so they die quicker and struggle to replace themselves. As a result, your skin can appear tired, dull and lacklustre.

Stress can also cause dramatic weight loss which can make you look older and gaunt in the face as your skin loses the underlying supporting fat causing your skin to sag. 

Looking after your skin in stressful times

Eat a healthy diet

Keep your skin healthy by avoiding sugary, processed foods. Simply try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), and drink 2L of water a day.

Perfect your skincare routine

Sticking to your skincare routine in times of stress will seem low on your priority list, however, it is particularly important to keep you looking fresh and combat physical signs of stress on your skin. Use a physical broad-spectrum SPF to protect from harmful UV rays which further oxidise your cells. Incorporating an anti-inflammatory moisturiser can help, or even look for soothing ingredients such as aloe vera or niacinamide to restore the skin and combat dehydration. Book a consultation with Dr Sharma to find a routine that will work for you. Taking the time to do a skincare routine in the morning and evening is a calming 10 minutes of self-care that can really help reduce stress.

Get a good sleep routine

Sleep is another factor that can be greatly affected by high levels of stress. Try to stick to a consistent routine and get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Making your bedroom dark and avoiding screens an hour before bed will help you drift off.

Practice mindfulness

Yoga and meditation may not be for everyone – and that’s ok! Mindfulness comes in many different forms for each individual. Whilst it may not have a direct effect on your skin, simple tasks that help you switch off such as reading, breathing exercises, or a walk outside can definitely help reduce stress levels.


Can I reverse signs of stress in my skin?

We understand feeling unhappy in your skin can only add to your stress levels, which is not ideal. There are a number of treatments that can help improve the quality of your skin and restore what you have lost. 

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are an ideal, subtle, treatment to treat signs of stress in the skin. They are an excellent method to restore volume and structure to your face, leaving you with plump skin and an overall refreshed appearance.


Our Hydrafacial treatment is the perfect treatment for stressed skin. With several stages to the treatment, you can benefit from lymphatic drainage which improves circulation, the removal of toxins and general grime from the surface to deep in your skin, and an antioxidant layer worked into the skin to prevent visible damage in future.

If you’re unhappy with your appearance and it’s only adding to your stress, book a consultation with our expert, Dr Sharma, to get a tailored recommendation of a skincare routine and/ or treatment journey.