Smart Thinking: Identifying the Effect of Stress on Your Skin 

by Mojgan Anvari-Brumby

Understanding the connection between your brain and your skin is key to combating the effects of stress on your skin. Because of the interconnection between the brain and your skin, every emotion you have is quite literally worn on your face. When we feel consistently happy, we might develop smile lines; when we are embarrassed, some of us have a tendency to blush. 

What does stress look like on our skin

You Look Stressed

Skin that is stressed can look different from one person to the next. For some of us, stressed skin could present in the form of a pimple or a flare-up of eczema or psoriasis. Stress can be signalled by dehydrated skin, oily skin, or just overall dull-looking skin.

Whatever it looks like, stressed skin shares a common source: a broken skin barrier, which is attributed to a stress-induced overproduction of cortisol.

What is a broken skin barrier

According to a recent article published by the New York Times, “A broken barrier — symptoms include inflammation and patchy, flaky skin — can eventually lead to other problems since it means the skin’s defenses are compromised. Besides sensitive skin, barrier dysfunction is also partly responsible for rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne, all of which are on the rise, according to epidemiological studies.”

Simply put, understanding the relationship between stress and your skin, can help you understand the importance of proper skincare and effective stress management is central to that. 

Understanding the Alchemy of Stress and Your Skin

The normal pH for skin is about 5.5. If you think back to what you learned in science class, you might remember that this pH level is more on the acidic side. This is because, with a lower pH, your skin has a better chance of battling off harmful microbes, which are small bacteria.

When your skin loses its ability to fight off these bacteria because of a stress-related shift in pH balance, you have a higher risk of developing symptoms associated with stressed skin. Similar to other health issues, you can treat the symptoms but until you address the source of your stress, the cycle will continue. Ultimately, you cannot hide your stress from your skin. 

Strategies to Help Solve for Stress

It sounds cliche, but checking the following boxes can help you address and solve for stress:

  • Relax
  • Eat right
  • Exercise 

These things directly align with your brain mentally, and your skin physically.  

Repeat After Me, “I Need to Relax”

When you take the time to slow down and relax, critical health metrics like your blood sugar, your breathing, and your sleep improve. In turn, this all adds up to healthier skin and an improved pH that is better at fighting those nasty microbes. 

You can physically help your skin relax by following a nurturing skincare routine, especially at night before bed. A nighttime facial routine featuring one of our Gentle Facial Cleansers or Purifying Facial Cleanser is a great way to literally wash away the stressors of the day and keep your complexion clear of those damaging microbes.

You Cannot Underestimate the Power of Proper Nutrition

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants and minerals, both of which are incredible for your skin. For example, the vitamin C and vitamin E naturally found in an abundance of fruits and vegetables support and strengthen your immune system, while helping prevent blemishes. 

These antioxidants and minerals are effective with the help of consistent and adequate hydration. Drinking enough water, along with snacking on water-rich foods, like cucumbers, oranges, and watermelon, does wonders for your skin.

Make a Move to Manage Stress

Regular exercise not only helps you stay in shape and support your body, it clears your brain, too! With a clear mind comes clearer skin (minus the sweat, of course!). 

Post-stress-relieving workout, pamper your skin with something cleansing and effective, yet gentle, like our Smoothing Body Exfoliator. This will help rejuvenate your skin and is an excellent addition to your anti-stress skincare arsenal.  

Take some time out of your day to lower your stress and see the benefit to your skin! 

Shop the Blue Monarch line of natural skincare products, specially formulated with sensitive skin in mind.

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