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How Does Stress Affect the Skin?

By July 29, 2019May 11th, 2023Dermatology

Many people notice that in times of high stress, their skin breaks out or existing skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis become worse. The link between stress and acne or other skin conditions isn’t just anecdotal. There are legitimate medical reasons why stress can do damage to your skin. At The Dermatology Clinic, we help our patients understand this connection and learn what they can do to mediate the way stress affects their skin.

Chemical Reactions


Stress comes in many forms. Whether it’s meeting a work deadline or trouble with relationships, our bodies react in the same way. One of these reactions is an increased production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol has beneficial functions in the body, like helping to control blood pressure, but it also triggers oil production in the skin which in turn leads to acne.

Flare-Ups of Existing Conditions

People who are predisposed to skin conditions like eczema may have noticed that the condition flares up in times of increased stress. That same cortisol hormone will cause inflammation of the skin that can trigger conditions like eczema and psoriasis, as well as dandruff and even hair loss. Unfortunately, these conditions exacerbate stress by giving people yet another thing to worry about.

Human Behavior

While there are biochemical reasons that stress impacts the skin, human behavior also plays a major factor. When we’re stressed, we may pick at our skin or pull our hair, which can be very harmful. Stress may also cause people to skip their skincare regimen or avoid physical exercise because they have to get work done. Add in a lack of sleep and you have a blend of bad behaviors that can negatively impact skin just as surely as cortisol production.

Managing stress and its impact on our health is a lifelong balance that almost everyone has to deal with. At The Dermatology Clinic, our caring doctors and aestheticians can help you manage the way stress impacts your skin by instilling healthy habits and advising on the best skin care methods and products like cleansers and exfoliants. If stress is keeping you from having the clear, smooth skin you want, call (225) 769-7546 to schedule an appointment today.