August 7th, 2020


Do you experience breakouts or dry, itchy skin when you’re stressed? Read more about how stress affects your skin, and five natural ways you can support a healthier complexion.

How Stress Affects Skin

Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve been anticipating this day for weeks, and everyone you know will be there. (Maybe you’re hosting a get-together or attending a special event.) Then on the special day, you wake up, and lo and behold… a pimple in the middle of your face.

The culprit? Stress.

Stress is a universal human experience. In fact, in 2018, 55 percent of Americans reported feeling extreme stress on a daily basis. And while some stress can boost cognitive function and improve performance, it can also get the best of us.

When we experience stress, our body takes a major hit mentally, emotionally, and physically. And the noticeable effects it can have on our complexion can cause even more stress.

Keep reading to learn why stress management should be a major part of your beauty routine!


Stress affects all aspects of your health, from weakening your immune system to causing insomnia and even stomach issues. And if all that wasn’t enough, it can also wreak havoc on your skin. Stress has been shown to contribute to dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and rashes.

Scientists link this mind-skin connection to your body’s chemical response to stress. When you experience a stressor, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which increases oil production in your sebaceous glands. Excessive oil production can lead to clogged pores and acne. Cortisol also contributes to inflammation, which can cause eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

What’s more, these spikes in cortisol can damage the collagen and elastin that keep your skin supple, firm, and youthful.  

It isn’t easy to recognize the real toll stress takes on your health, especially your skin. But if you find yourself struggling with breakouts and other flare-ups, it may be time for a little self-care and stress management.

Here are 5 things you can do today to de-stress and protect your skin.


"...these spikes in cortisol can damage the collagen and elastin that keep your skin supple, firm, and youthful."

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

It goes without saying that stress can keep you awake at night, but lack of sleep also contributes to more stress. This vicious cycle can interfere with your internal clock, which can upset your skin and cause serious health risks.


Research shows that a regular sleep routine can regulate your mood, improve focus, and better help you cope with stress. But that’s not all sleep is good for! Cortisol levels drop while you snooze, which helps skin repair daytime damage, and your body makes more collagen, which keeps skin firm and smooth.

In order to get the full 7-8 hours of recommended sleep each night, try unplugging from devices, taking a warm shower, and dimming the lights at least an hour before bedtime. Click here for more helpful tips to improve sleep and reduce stress.

Get Regular Exercise

I’m sure you’ve heard this one a dozen times. But you’d be surprised what a little exercise can do for stress relief. Exercise releases endorphins (aka feel-good hormones) which trigger positive emotions and ease stress levels.

But you don’t need to lift weights or run a marathon to add a little pep in your step. Yoga, aerobics, swimming, or any other physical activity can have stress-busting benefits. Bonus: bacteria, dirt, and other impurities are released through sweat, so you can naturally fresh your skin!

Practice Meditation

The practice of meditation dates back hundreds of years, but its purpose has remained the same – to quiet the mind and promote inner peace. Meditation has been shown to relieve stress and stimulate feelings of calmness. In addition to its anxiety-reducing effects, meditation can evoke the relaxation response and improve sleep.

If you’re new to meditation, try these three helpful tips:


  1. Sit in a comfortable position, with a straight spine and eyes closed.
  2. Bring your attention to the natural sensation of breath in the body.
  3. Try to follow the breath through full cycles, from the moment you inhale to the moment you release air when you gently exhale. Do this for two minutes. (If a thought crosses your mind, simply return your attention back to your breath. Do this until you are completely relaxed.)

Eat Adaptogens

Want better skin and less stress? Eat adaptogens! Adaptogens have been used for centuries in both Indian Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Today, they’re often recommended by naturopaths and holistic doctors to help patients better adapt to stress.

According to multiple studies, adaptogens possess therapeutic effects and may promote general well-being. And, depending on the type of adaptogen, they’ve also been shown to slow the signs of aging. Read more about the benefits of adaptogens here.

Adaptogens are fairly easy to find, especially in health food stores and Asian markets. However, depending on the adaptogen, you may find the taste to be bitter or pungent, therefore it is best to combine them with other fruits and vegetables, specifically superfoods. Combining adaptogens and superfoods, give your body double the nutrients, and DOUBLE the benefits. Experience the stress-reducing benefits of the adaptogen ashwagandha in our calming Mellow Yellow mix and our chocolatey Magic Mushroom mix.

Set Boundaries 

Do you find yourself saying yes to everything, then later stressing out about following through? (I know I’m guilty of that!) Being a “yes” person isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming. Committing yourself to something, only to avoid disappointing others, can end up causing YOU more stress and anxiety. (Which means more stress-related skin issues!) Instead, try setting boundaries with your peers and loved ones. According to psychologist and coach Dana Gionta, “Having healthy boundaries means “knowing and understanding what your limits are.”

Giving yourself permission to say ‘no’ can be the easiest and most helpful way to reduce your stress. Here are 4 (polite) ways to say no and set healthy boundaries:


  • “Thank you for inviting me, but I’m unable to commit at this time.”
  • “I’m honored that you would ask for my help, but I can’t add anything else to my workload right now.”
  • “I’m not able to help you with that event/party, but I will be there to support you.”
  • “I want to be here for you, but I don’t have the emotional capacity to help you through it right now.”


(Thank you @nedratawwab for sharing these!)


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Written by Reigna