Long Life and Health
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How Stress Affects Your Face

Are you stressed out?

The accumulated tension, frustration, and anxiety can have an impact beyond just your mind, as stress can manifest on your face as well.

Stress can negatively impact your well-being, including your sleep and skin. Discover the indicators of a stressed complexion and effective methods to restore your natural radiance.

Although some stress is a natural response to life’s changes, even positive ones, chronic stress can harm your health and cause issues ranging from disrupted sleep to unexpected breakouts.

How exactly does stress affect the face?


Stress is a commonly recognized trigger for breakouts. Studies indicate that this may be due to cortisol, the stress hormone, causing your sebaceous glands to increase oil production. When your pores become clogged with excess oil, it can result in acne breakouts.

Unfortunately, becoming overly focused on your stress-induced breakouts can exacerbate the issue. Therefore, it’s crucial to take a deep breath and resist the urge to pop pimples in order to prevent further breakouts.

Dry skin

Your skin barrier, which acts as the outermost layer of your skin and helps to maintain moisture, can be gradually eroded by chronic stress, leading to a depleted skin barrier.

As a result, your skin may become dry and appear stressed. When your skin barrier is unable to retain moisture, you may experience an itchy and flaky complexion.


Individuals with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are aware of the significant impact that stress can have on their condition. Stressful periods can exacerbate flare-ups, causing redness, itchiness, and rashes.

However, individuals who do not have chronic skin issues are not immune to the effects of stress. Studies indicate that high levels of stress can increase the likelihood of experiencing itchy skin, a dry rash, and even dandruff, even if they do not have an underlying skin condition.

Dark circles under the eyes

Dark circles under the eyes are often the result of a combination of age and genetics. However, lifestyle factors such as stress can also affect the delicate skin around the eyes.

Stress can make it difficult to get adequate sleep, whether it’s due to work pressure, relationship problems, or mental exhaustion. Without getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, you’re likely to develop shadows under your eyes.

Under-eye bags

Additionally, stress can cause inflammation throughout the body, including in the skin. This can exacerbate any puffiness or swelling under the eyes, making those bags even more prominent. So, while stress may not directly cause under-eye bags, it can certainly contribute to their appearance.

Forehead furrows

When you’re stressed, your facial muscles tend to stay tense and contracted, which can deepen those glabellar frown lines. Over time, this repetitive muscle movement can cause permanent wrinkles.

One study found that women who reported high stress levels had more pronounced glabellar frown lines than women who reported low stress levels. Another study found that stress was a significant predictor of frown lines in both men and women.

So, while Botox can help to temporarily smooth out these lines, reducing stress through relaxation techniques or lifestyle changes may also help to prevent them from deepening in the first place.

Damaged teeth

In extreme cases, grinding your teeth due to stress can lead to tooth damage, jaw pain, headaches, and even hearing loss.

In fact, dentists often look for signs of bruxism during regular checkups because the pressure from teeth grinding can wear down the enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and pain.

It might be worth chatting with your dentist if you constantly wake up with a sore jaw or headache or if your teeth feel sensitive or loose.

  • tooth cracks
  • lost enamel
  • jaw pain

Enlarged jaw

Enlarged masseters, or hypertrophy of the masseter muscles, can be a sign of bruxism or teeth grinding, which is often linked to stress and anxiety. The constant clenching of the jaw can result in an enlarged appearance of the jaw muscles, leading to a more square or boxy jawline. So, if you notice a change in the shape of your lower face, it could be a sign of a “stressed face.”

Hair loss

It is important to note that telogen effluvium is a temporary type of hair loss, and regrowth is possible once the underlying stress is addressed. However, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any concerning hair loss or changes in your hair.

Premature graying

While it’s a common belief that stress can cause gray hair, there’s no conclusive evidence to support this claim. While it’s true that hair color can change as you age due to genetic and environmental factors, there’s no direct link between stress and gray hair.

Seeking help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can be a valuable step in managing stress and improving overall well-being. They can provide guidance on healthy coping mechanisms and offer support as you navigate challenging situations.

Additionally, self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in physical activity, can help reduce stress and promote overall health.

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