How Stress Affects The Skin, Recipes For Relaxation

A hard day at work can quickly show up on the face, with stress contributing to the body’s inability to absorb nutrients. It also makes reaching for that end-of-day wine more tempting, leading to dehydration and disturbed sleep patterns.

Learning how to respond calmly to stressful situations requires mindfulness and this can take time to harness. Daily practices of meditation, yoga and walking are highly beneficial for nurturing this state of mind.

Yet there’s more going on in the body, and with the skin, when the stress response sets in, says holistic nutritionist Samantha Ward of Invora Health in Melbourne, Australia.

“Stress affects the skin in a number of ways: when we feel worried or stressed, our bodies release a range of hormones, two of which are adrenalin and cortisol,” she says. “These two hormones were absolutely essential to  our survival when stress was caused by a tiger being two metres away from you — the adrenalin makes your heart beat faster, your lungs fill with more air, your muscles tense and you begin to sweat. You’re ready to run!”

She adds, “The issue arises when stress changed from a wild tiger to an inbox full of emails, a deadline, a disapproving boss or a visit from the in-laws. When stress remains constant, our bodies continue to produce these hormones and our levels of cortisol rise, causing a suppression of the immune system, reduced digestive function, blood- sugar disregulation, obesity and, of course, acne.”


Being conscious of our responses to stressful situations is an important first step in keeping calm, which can, in turn, contribute to healthy skin. However, there are regular beauty rituals that can keep you relaxed while also feeding the face with beautifying vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and good fats.

Eco beauty editor mineralising scrub
Mix two parts aluminium-free baking soda to one part wild kelp powder. Wet the face and apply the mixture gently in circular motions, working from the neck up to the forehead. Leave for two to three minutes before rinsing off. This also works wonders as an all-over body scrub.

Apple cider toner
Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to two cups of water. Apply to the face and neck using an organic cotton pad.

Bentonite clay mask
Combine enough clay and water to make a paste. Apply over the face and neck and leave to dry, before rinsing off with warm water and patting dry. Bentonite clay is a wonderful detoxifier that feeds the skin with minerals.

Natural moisture infusion
Organic rosehip oil is an effective and light skin moisturiser that’s packed with skin-loving, antioxidant vitamin C. It also does double duty as a toxin-free makeup remover.
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