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November 1, 2021

How does stress affect our skin?

Lady suffering from acne

We all deal with stress from time to time. However, during periods of intense and chronic stress, you’ll start to notice how this emotional issue manifests itself in more physical forms, such as changes in the quality of our skin. 

This happens mainly because of the stress hormone, cortisol. Your body’s sympathetic nervous system produces cortisol as a reaction to stress and plays a variety of roles - from how your body manages your macros and blood sugar levels, to your sleep and wake cycles. However, that also means that too much cortisol can throw your body functions out of whack. [1]

Sometimes, it’s impossible to rid ourselves of stress entirely, so what do we do when sheet masks and skin salves aren’t enough? Read on as we talk about how stress affects our skin and some tips that could help mitigate these effects.


Cortisol causes a part of your brain to produce a corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) that stimulates oil release from sebaceous glands around your hair follicles. Excessive oil production can lead to clogged pores and acne

Fortunately, most acne reacts to topical treatments. If over-the-counter acne creams don’t suffice, your doctor may prescribe acne medication such as retinoids, salicylic acids or even antibiotics. Apply these religiously and note that certain creams might affect your skin’s sun sensitivity! So be sure to use the right product and apply sunscreen.  

You could also try light-based therapies such as the Gold PTT Acne Treatment, which helps effectively treat active acne, sebum control and aids in pore reduction. This treatment involves a 5-step process that starts with an Aquajet Facial to deeply cleanse the skin of dirt, oil and dead skin. Gold nanoparticles are then applied, along with the use of 2 technologies, the LDM Tech and PICO laser, which use ultrasound wave radiation and laser-based energy to destroy the sebaceous glands and control the enzymes that lead to metabolic tissue conditions such as acne. Finally, Omega light LLT therapy is used to stimulate the body’s natural healing response and reduce inflammation.

On the other hand, if acne scars are your issue, you can look into our PicoCare 450 Laser + HEXA MLA. It uses photomechanical technology, with lesser thermal effects and stronger mechanical fragmentation. This creates a collection of precise “bubbles” under the skin to lift depressed acne scars, smoothening uneven skin while giving visible results with lesser discomfort and downtime. 

Lady with wrinkles

Eyebags and Wrinkles

As mentioned earlier, high levels of cortisol can also affect your sleeping patterns and often, with that comes swelling or puffiness beneath your eyes. Sleep deprivation also increases signs of ageing such as fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and reduced elasticity. 

Stress can cause changes to the proteins in your skin and reduce elasticity. This loss of elasticity can contribute to wrinkles. [2] When you’re stressed, you also tend to frown, which may also contribute to the formation of wrinkles.

The Fotona Laser Eyebag Removal is a plausible alternative to going under the knife. This non-invasive laser treatment focuses on skin tightening and fine line reduction without surgery.

It uses two 4D lasers from Fotona known as the SMOOTH mode - allowing laser energy to penetrate the eye bag to shrink fats and tighten loose undereye skin. It stimulates new collagen production and improves elasticity and texture around the eye area using optical energy in a single pulse, ensuring noticeable improvements in the appearance of wrinkles and firming eyebags. 

Picture of Dry Skin

Dry skin

Your outer layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, contains proteins and lipids that play an important role in keeping your skin cells hydrated. It also serves as a resilient barrier that protects our bodies from the environment and prevents excessive water loss. 

Unfortunately, stress causes dry skin - decreasing epidermal lipids and natural protein, which in turn, decreases stratum corneum hydration and increases transepidermal water loss. Moreover, stress can also slow down the skin’s ability to heal itself.

Lady suffering from rashes


When you’re stressed, your immune system may also be weakened. This can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut and skin, which leads to redness or rash. In more severe cases, stress is also known to trigger conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and contact dermatitis.

A typical stress rash may be treated with antihistamines prescribed by your doctor. These will help relieve symptoms like itching and inflammation. Sometimes, your rashes may subside as the stressor goes away. 

Lady with glowing skin


Ideally, improving our stress-caused skin conditions are best treated by removing the stressor that triggered them in the first place. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.

You could always look into other methods of alleviating stress such as incorporating exercise into your daily routine or practising meditation. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough sleep helps too!

Hopefully, the treatments and tips we’ve provided help mitigate and reverse the effects of stress on your skin. These, along with making active lifestyle changes, will get you back on the road to happier, healthier skin.

  1. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress-on-face


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