The effects of stress on the skin

The effects of stress on the skin

Imperfections, dull complexion, redness, itching, wrinkles… stress not only weighs on our minds, it also affects the condition of our skin. Why does our epidermis react to our mind?


To soothe your skin and preserve its beauty, here is an overview of the effects of stress on the skin, and our tips for remedying it!

What is the action of stress on the skin?

It all starts with the design. At the embryonic level, the skin and the nervous system come from the same tissues. Hence the obvious link between our mental state and our possible skin problems.

Stress, which is a defense mechanism in dangerous situations, can quickly have a negative impact on our body. Prolonged or chronic stress causes chemical reactions, which ultimately harm the whole body.

When a person is stressed, cortisol secretion goes into overdrive. This peak then triggers an inflammatory reaction causing sensitivity and redness, and an acceleration of skin aging. Cortisol is a hormone known to affect the immune system of the epidermis, induce allergic reactions, weaken its barrier function and its microbiome.

Under the influence of cortisol, all skin pathologies are over-expressed and the consequences are multiple:

  • Acne

Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”, increases sebum production. The excess sebum then clogs the pores, which leads to the appearance of blackheads or acne pimples.

Depending on the person, stress pimples can appear on the skin of the face only, or also on the body, in scattered or in patches.

  • Dry and itchy skin

Stress unbalances the skin barrier and weakens the hydrolipidic film which no longer fulfills its role as a shield. When the hydrolipidic film is altered, the water naturally contained in the epidermis evaporates more quickly.

Less protected against external aggressions, the skin is then dehydrated and dry, which can cause significant discomfort: tightness, itching, a burning sensation and irritation at the slightest friction.

  • Oxidative stress and skin aging

Like tobacco, UV, pollution and many other environmental factors, psychological stress stimulates the action of free radicals in the body and causes oxidative stress. This imbalance is the cause of cellular aging and therefore premature skin aging.

On the other hand, the stress response deploys an increase in glucocorticoids, which impair the production and breakdown of collagen, proteoglycans and elastin, all building blocks of the skin.

Result: the skin loses elasticity and firmness, the formation of fine lines and wrinkles accelerates, the complexion becomes dull and pigment spots may appear.

  • Alteration of the complexion

Beyond cortisol, stress causes the release of many hormones such as adrenaline, oxytocin or vasopressin. Each causes chain reactions in the body and in the skin tissue.

Depending on the type of stress encountered, these hormones can cause cutaneous vasoconstriction, in other words the reduction in the diameter of blood vessels in the skin. This phenomenon affects the microcirculation which nourishes the cells of the skin. As a result, the complexion fades, it becomes paler and tends towards grey.

The area around the eyes being a very thin skin, blood and stagnant lymph under the skin are therefore very visible: dark circles are darker, more marked, and can even create bags under the eyes.

In other cases, stress instead causes vasodilation, which corresponds to an increase in the diameter of blood vessels in the skin. The face becomes more red, as a whole, or in patches.

How to reduce the effects of stress on the skin?

To limit breakage and fight against the effects of stress on the skin, you need to adapt your beauty routine:

1 - Care adapted to your skin

To improve the appearance of your skin, you can adapt your topical skincare routine.

If you are prone to stress pimples and a dull complexion, regular exfoliation will help unclog pores, activate microcirculation and cell renewal. A purifying mask once a week will help reduce excess sebum.

Moisturize your skin every day to allow it to regenerate and protect itself against dehydration and external aggressions. In case of itching and tightness, use a richer cream than usual.

Place your treatment in the refrigerator for an immediate decongestant effect.

2 - A healthier lifestyle

To reduce the action of stress on the skin, the ideal is to attack the cause!

To soothe stress and anxiety, the practice of sport, meditation and a healthy lifestyle are recommended.

Balance your diet as well as possible because it contributes to your physical and mental health. Certain foods such as green tea, chamomile, nuts or dark chocolate are recommended to reduce anxiety.

Also maintain a sufficient and regular sleep cycle. Lack of sleep has a strong effect on your mind. You'll be more susceptible, stressed, anxious, and irritable if you don't get enough rest. Treat yourself to time away from screens, emails and text messages!

3 - Food supplements for targeted action

Using dietary supplements in your daily beauty routine is an effective way to combat the effects of stress on the skin. Enriched with micronutrients and herbal medicine, they allow targeted action at the heart of the cells to treat the skin from the inside.

To complete the routine for stressed skin, D-LAB has developed the Destressed Skin Duo . This duo provides a complete solution to improve daily stress management and soothe skin inflammation, thanks to active ingredients with adaptogenic, calming and soothing properties for comfortable skin.

  • The Letting Go Complex provides a high dose of antioxidant adaptogens to reduce stress and promote restful sleep. Formulated with extracts of eschscholtzia, sweet clover, lion's mane and eleutherococcus, it is ideal for de-stressing the skin on a daily basis.
  • The Soothed Skin Complex brings together 8 powerful active ingredients that work in synergy to reduce inflammation, calm redness and protect sensitive skin. Its formula contains in particular Roman chamomile, melon de Provence SOD, and hemp oil.

Discover the products presented in our article:

Destressed-Skin Duo

Soothes the skin & mind

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Soothed Skin Complex

Reduces inflammation & protects the skin

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Letting Go Complex

Relaxation & Serenity

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