4 Tips to Curb Skin Irritation Due To Stress

Did you know that acne, brittle nails and even hair loss can happen because of stress? Well, that’s exactly what expert dermatologist Flor A.

Mayoral, MD, FAAD explained in his talk at the American Academy of Dermatology’s SKIN.

 “In treating hundreds of patients over the years with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis, I have seen firsthand how stress can aggravate the skin and trigger unexpected flare-ups that, in effect, create more stress for patients,”

said Dr Mayoral.

“Learning how to manage the effects of stress on your skin can help alleviate some of the anxiety and symptoms.” 

When we get stressed our bodies produce a lot of cortisol (the stress hormone).

This can, in turn, result in excess oils that can lead to acne or hair problems.

A previous study also showed that stress reduces the amount of water in the skin and also alters the skin’s protective barrier and repair functions.


In another study, students were exposed to sellotape stripping on their arms both when under exam pressure, and also during calmer study periods. The researchers found that it took students longer to recover from the sellotape stripping when they were stressed out due to looming exam pressure.

“This study was the first of its kind to suggest what dermatologists anecdotally have known for years – that psychological stress adversely affects the normal functions of the skin,”

said Dr Mayoral.

“While the subjects in this study did not have any pre-existing skin conditions, I would suspect that people with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis would have been even more adversely affected by this experiment.”


Dr Mayoral provided 4 tips to curb the effects of stress both internally and externally:

1. Learn to recognize the underlying problem that is triggering your symptoms and develop skills to help minimize stress.

2. Exercise helps release endorphins in the body that can reduce stress.

3. Avoid very hot showers or baths and use detergent-free soaps. Moisturize as soon as possible after bathing.

4. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily to protect your skin from sun exposure.