As much as none of us like to admit it, it’s impossible to avoid stress, altogether.
Let’s face it – we live in a busy, digital, harried age that makes many demands on our time and attention.
It’s important that we all try to avoid as many stressors as possible to promote mental and emotional health and clarity. If you need another reason to banish stress from your life, how about this one?
Stress can wreak absolute havoc on your skin and in this article I’m going to share some ways to calm and soothe stressed out skin.
Stress on the inside can easily be kept at bay until it’s appropriately managed. Stress on the outside, though, is impossible to hide.
That’s where this guide comes in.
Keep reading to identify thirteen ways stress shows up on your skin. Read a little further and you’ll learn twenty-four methods for destressing your skin and letting your inner beauty and peace come right to the surface.
Table of Contents
Your Skin on Stress
From parenting to career obligations to times of grief to mountains of bills, stress occasionally crops up in everyone’s life.
Concentrate your effort and energy on finding anxiety-relieving solutions that help you cope with the stressors in your life and get back to a peaceful state of mind.
Fortunately, there are many ways to effectively manage stress and keep it off your mind – and off your beautiful face. It’s important to do so because stress can mar your face with unsightly acne and eczema.
It can also lead to hair breakage, cause brittle nails, and otherwise have a detrimental effect on your natural beauty and physical appearance.
That happens because stress and anxiety cause your body to over-secrete hormones like cortisol. Excess amounts of cortisol send a signal to your secretion glands to produce oil, which leads to a variety of skin issues.
Read on for additional ways stress manifests itself on the outside.
8 Ways Stress Shows Up On Your Skin
1. Under the Eyes
There is nothing worse than catching sight of yourself in the mirror only to see large dark bags under your eyes. A lack of sleep triggers fluid to pool in the area and you find yourself faced with a puffy mess come morning. There’s more bad news for those of you who suffer from puffy eyes… it’s even worse if you happen to sleep on your stomach.
2. Dry and Flaking Skin
When you are under severe stress, there is a fairly good chance that you aren’t drinking sufficient amounts of water. You’re probably turning to soda, coffee, and energy drinks for your fluids because the only type of drink you’re interested in is one that contains caffeine and can provide you with a boost.
Those are the types of beverages that dehydrate meaning you need to drink even more water to make up for it. Otherwise, you get that crepe paper look and feel to your skin, and nobody wants that.Stress REALLY shows on your skin, learn how to De-stress your skin with these tips. Click To Tweet
You know, once you escape the terror of the teen years you expect your skin to fall in line and look flawless and smooth all the time. Then the truth comes out and you realize adult acne is real and it’s a major problem for you.
Stress is a big trigger for acne (or eczema and psoriasis, if you’re prone to it) and it’s because cortisol upsets the balance in the rest of your hormones leading to breakouts. It can also have a hand in upsetting the balance of gut bacteria, which can also trigger an acne breakout.
4. Hives & Rashes
Dysbiosis is a gut imbalance and this can result in hives and rashes. They become a problem for people who are so extremely stressed that the bad bacteria have completely outweighed the presence of good bacteria in the gut.
5. Red Face
One thing that the majority of people tend to do when they’re under stress is breathing wrong. Your breaths become short and shallow, and you may even catch yourself holding your breath. This causes redness and a flushed face.
6. Lines & Wrinkles
Remember when your mom told you that if you keep making that face it would stay that way? As it turns out, if you make the same facial expressions all the time you will get fine lines that lead to wrinkles. Are you a brow furrower or a lip purser?
Then your face will show it. Most people can live with laughter lines, because hey, they’re just evidence of living a happy life, but lines across the forehead and those that gather above the upper lip are just not a good look.
7. Eczema & Psoriasis
We’ve discussed how excess cortisol sends your hormones haywire, but it also has a serious impact on your immune system. It’s during these times where people who are prone to eczema and psoriasis experience outbreaks.
People who have these types of conditions often suffer from anxiety; it’s a sort of cyclical situation with each issue feeding the other, which can make it difficult to manage.
Stress is poisonous, even for your DNA. It can influence how quickly cells age, especially for people who are under stress. It leads to acne, wrinkles, and dull, sallow skin. No one wants to be described as sallow, so if this is a description that fits you then it’s time to take steps to rectify the situation.
If you’ve identified – or suffered from – any or many of the eight skin blemishes above, you’re probably ready to find out the fastest, most effective methods for clearing them up.
That’s where the next section come in.
These twenty-four tips will help you get rid of the results of stress that show up on your face, eyes, and smile.
Since you’re ready to calm, soothe, and clear up your skin, this is the perfect read for you.
Troubleshoot acne, banish sunburn, rid your skin of redness, and prevent fine lines and wrinkles with these tips and strategies.
If you’ve ever been plagued with visible signs of stress right before a special occasion or suffered an outbreak on your way to a job interview, you’ll love these skincare ideas that help you refine your skin and banish signs of stress from the inside out.
You’ll finish this guide with the tools you need to create a healthy, glowing outside that matches your calm, cool interior.
1. Relaxed Skin
You may have noticed that when you’re under your stress your muscles hurt because you’ve been tensing. You’re doing the same to your skin, which is why worry lines across the forehead are fairly common.
Provide yourself with reminders throughout the day to take a moment and let your entire body (thus your face) relax. The more frequently you do this the more you will realize just how tense you’re holding yourself.
2. Get Glowing Skin
Your skin cells are less active when you’re stressed which makes your skin look dull. So, make sure you’re exfoliating and moisturizing. Consider a DIY mix using items that are probably already in your fridge and/or cupboards.
3. Protect Your Health
Stress tends to send us right for the junk food that is if we can be bothered to eat at all. You might be exhausted, completely drained of energy and run down, but it is vital that you make the time to eat the right foods and drink plenty of water.
4. SPF Protection
Sunlight is great for your skin and it’s great for your stress; just don’t forget to layer the sunblock on to protect yourself from UV Rays. There’s no need to risk skin cancer and horrible wrinkles!
5. Prevent Eye Puffiness
The most effective way to get rid of those bags under your eyes is by getting seven hours of sleep every night. Remember, the screen of your phone or tablet simulates sunlight so ditch them at least an hour before you’re going to sleep. Create a healthy pre-bed routine to get yourself ready for sleep.
If the morning rolls around and you still have puffy eyes try using a cold spoon. Give it some time in the fridge and then press the back of it beneath your eyes and give yourself a light massage from the inner to the outer corner. This will expedite the drainage of the fluid that has accumulated.
You might be tempted to turn straight for concealer to cover it up, but this usually just draws more attention to the area, because unless you’re a makeup artist you aren’t equipped to handle that puffiness. Don’t even try it, turn to the spoon immediately, and work at sleeping on your sides or back.
Get rid of those bags under your eyes is by getting seven hours of sleep every night.
6. Fresh-Faced Skin
The most effective way to keep your skin dewy and fresh is by properly hydrating, so make it your goal to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. If you live in the heat then increase that! Green tea is also a great choice as are foods with a high water content, like celery, cucumbers, watermelon, beets, and tomatoes.
Another excellent way to give your skin a moisture boost is with a hyaluronic acid serum.
7. Deep Breathing
Learning how to deep breathe is an effective way to counteract stressful situations. When you feel yourself particularly stressed take notice of your breathing. Is it shallow, take a few minutes to correct it with some big breaths. It’s simple, draw in enough air to fill your belly and hold it for a few seconds before slowly exhaling.
This should help you manage any adult acne breakouts or other skin conditions that affect you because of stress. Harvard University has found it truly helps to control blood pressure and stress levels.
8. Preventing Fine Lines
The best way, of course, would be to stop furrowing your brow or scowling. It sounds easy, but it takes time to get your muscles to relax. If you get stressed out at work then put a piece of tape between your brow arches.
You may look silly, but every time you furrow you’ll be reminded by the crinkle of tape to change the behavior. You can do the same for above your lip if you are a lip purser. It won’t take too long before you’ve ditched the habit altogether.
If your colleagues say anything about it just let them know you’ll have the last laugh when their faces are etched in worry lines and you’re sitting pretty.
It’s always annoying when someone tells you to smile, but for your own benefit, you should try to smile more (even if you don’t feel like it). Smiling relieves stress and it can help you recover from a stressful situation or activity much quicker, too.
That doesn’t mean you’re ignoring your emotions or compartmentalizing, it’s all about positively overcoming obstacles and by faking it till you make it you’ll naturally boost your mood. Try to take notice of your unconscious grimaces and flip them upside down.
10. Calm Skin
We mentioned the importance of breathing exercises above, but if you suffer from hives or rashes, you should consult a doctor. There may be probiotics that can help your situation by balancing your gut bacteria.
Of course, you can try buying probiotics over the counter before you make an appointment with a medical professional. That may be enough to clear up the problem, if not, head to the doctor for medical-grade goods.
Yoga is an excellent way to bring balance to your life. It assists the nervous system thus relieving stress and of course, helping you keep your skin fresh and clear. So, consider practicing yoga to manage your stress levels.
You don’t need to find a class if you aren’t inclined to do so, you can practice basic poses at home and it only takes 10 minutes or so. It’s a great way to start your day or to enjoy before bed. You’ll find it invites deeper sleep, relieves the symptoms of mental health problems as well as stress.
12. Getting Rid of Redness
Another case for deep breathing, because redness and flushing tend to stem from stress and shallow breathing. You can take it to the next level by practicing your deep breathing with an aroma diffuser to provide you with some mood boosting, stress relieving scents like chamomile, lavender, and patchouli.
Of course, you can save time by running that diffuser while practicing yoga.
As it turns out, people aren’t drinking tea because they’re relaxed, they’re drinking it to relax. The University College London completed a study (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/media/library/tea) which found that drinking black tea is great for de-stressing due to its ingredients! So, you might want to consider swapping coffee for tea sometimes, you get the added bonus of de-stressing with your caffeine.
14. Talk It Out
Stress has taken over your life, your face has broken out, and the last thing on your mind is hanging out with a friend. However, diving head first into a social situation is exactly what your body needs.
When you’re stressed out you often isolate yourselves in your own emotions. So, reach out and talk it out with a friend to destress, your skin will thank you.
15. Skin Care
It doesn’t need to be a theater production; it’s all about following a regimen that takes your skin type and qualities into consideration. Choose products that calm, soothe, and hydrate.Your skin care routine doesn’t need to be a theater production. Choose products that calm, soothe, and hydrate.Click To Tweet
16. Alkaline Hydration
Choosing alkaline water is a healthy way to keep your body hydrated while driving impurities and toxins from your body. It also happens to help minimize puffiness by helping skin cells operate normally.
17. The Routine
We mentioned above the importance of using the right products for your skin, but you also need to follow a routine. You should be washing your face daily (once at night for sensitive/dry skin, twice for normal skin, and possibly three times for oily skins) and exfoliated three times a week.
18. Healthy Food Choices
Your diet should be packed with lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. When it comes to the last two eat with the season so you’re getting the freshest products possible, it’s what your ancestors would have done and each seasonal fruit and vegetable provides you with what you need for the current weather and time of year.
19. Spend Time In Nature
The more time you spend in nature the lower your cortisol levels will be, so find time to take a hike, read in the back yard, or even do your yoga in a field. The more time you spend outdoors the better (don’t forget that sunscreen, though), but even grabbing five or 10 minutes a day will be enough to make a difference.
It doesn’t matter whether you sit down to play the piano or you fire up a record player or your iPod. Music is an effective way to soothe your mind and reduce those cortisol levels. The most effective types of music for reducing cortisol levels are instrumental, but you should choose whatever type of music calms you the most effectively. It will lower your stress levels, thus improving (and protecting) your skin.
Okay, you know you need to eat a healthy diet to keep your skin looking young and destressed, but superfoods are a sure way to give skin a boost. Make sure there’s room in your diet with dark greens like asparagus, spinach, and broccoli. Fruits that are high in Vitamin C like oranges and berries are also excellent for your skin.
22. Let It Out
An unfortunate side effect of relationships and friendships is that they can annoy the heck out of you and increase your stress levels. If this sounds like some of your friends then learn to let it out. How will they know what they’re doing wrong unless you tell them?
You may think that avoiding confrontation is the wiser choice, but really, you’re just fueling your own stress levels. So, stop avoiding talking about your feelings and let it out! Just be sure that you’re being reasonable and not annoyed about something else entirely.
23. Massage Therapy
A weekly massage is an excellent way to boost your immunity and reduce your stress levels. The benefits of which last for several days after each session. If you can afford to have more regular sessions then you will experience results even more profound, however, one a week is plenty.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay for it if that’s your concern. You can either practice a bit of self-massage or rope your partner or friend into it.A weekly massage is an excellent way to boost your immunity and reduce your stress levels.Click To Tweet
Many people like the sound of meditation and would love to experience the benefits of it, but just don’t know where to start. It isn’t a complicated process, in fact, you’d be surprised to find out just how easy it is.
The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center have made a variety of guided meditations available and that is a great place to start for any beginner. It’s an effective way to relieve stress and help you bring your focus to the present and of course, improving your skin.
When you’re feeling stressed out, one of first ways it shows is in your facial expressions and on your skin. That’s why the best thing to do is reduce the amount of stress in your life wherever possible.
You’ve just read about why your skin reacts to stress and how you can troubleshoot and counteract the visible signs of stress throughout your body.
Don’t let everyday stress triggers detract from what you see in the mirror and what your face says to the world. Instead, follow the techniques outlined above to prevent lackluster skin and hair.
After all, when you look good, you feel good and you’ll naturally feel more confident in the skin you’re in.