Don’t Let Stress Sabotage Your Skin

There is a strong connection between our mind and our body. Your overall health and appearance is an indicator of what is happening inside of your body. When you get sick, you sweat as your temperature raises because your body is working hard to flush out your system and fight an infection.

Similarly, the inner workings of your brain are reflected in your health and appearance. There is a strong connection between your mind and body, which means stress can manifest itself in many physical ways. Stress alters your body’s chemistry, which causes different hormones to be produced at different rates. The hormonal changes caused by stress may result in severe skin effects.

Stress is unavoidable, and it’s hard to abolish all stress from your life at NYU. However, many dermatologist can attest to the fact that stress can be affecting your skin in more ways than imaginable. Here are a few ways stress can be affecting your skin:

  1. Under-Eye Bags: Stress can prevent you from sleeping properly or cause you difficulty falling asleep. This can cause fluid to pool underneath your eyes resulting in dreaded dark circles and puffiness.
  2. Dry, Flaky Skin: Stress takes a large toll on your hormonal balance which can result in dehydration. Your skin may be dry and flaky, exhibiting dehydration, even though you are not thirsty.
  3. Acne: Dehydration caused by stress can lead to acne as well as dry skin. When you are experiencing stress your natural hormonal balances are thrown off which can result in acne.
  4. Rashes and Hives: Stress causes imbalances in the bacteria present in your stomach. In addition to causing acne, these imbalances may cause you to break out in itchy rashes or hives.
  5. Flushed Complexion: Stress interferes with natural breathing processes. You may find yourself holding onto your breath for extended moments or not breathing deeply enough. This can result in flushing or redness in your face.
  6. Fine Lines: Frequently furrowing your brows or furrowing your lips due to unconscious stress levels can result in fine lines and wrinkles over time. Stress can cause you to frequently make these unpleasant facial expressions that will result in wrinkles.

It is clear that stress takes a major toll on both your emotional and physical well-being. Fortunately, there are many strategies you can adopt to manage your stress levels during difficult times.

Mindfulness is extremely helpful for alleviating stress from your daily life. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment and becoming aware of your feelings, thoughts, and physicality. Meditation is instrumental in developing mindfulness. MindfulNYU offers both free meditation and yoga classes that can help you develop mindfulness in your daily life.

In addition to mindfulness, proper self-care is essential to keeping your stress at bay. Regular exercise is crucial in maintaining a healthy body rhythm. In many studies regular exercise works as well as medication in alleviating stress and anxiety as it pumps natural endorphins. Proper diet and nutrition is also key in maintaining hormonal balances.  

Save the call to the dermatologist. Instead, try managing your stress levels for an overall healthier way of life.

Maya Nann is a contributing writer. Email her at


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