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What Are The Effects Of Stress On Your Face?

Stress is something that can affect anyone of us and at any point of time. Did you know that there are various effects of stress on our face? Chronic stress can show on your face primarily in two ways. In the first, the hormones that are released by your body when you feel stressed can result in physiological changes that can impact your skin negatively. And, in a second way, feeling stressed also can cause a bad habit in you such as biting your lips or teeth.

Do you want to know more about what are the effects of stress on your face? If yes, then read below to explore them.

What Are The Effects Of Stress On Your Face?

What Are The Effects Of Stress On Your Face?

Everyone feels stressed at some point in their life. However, when stress gets chronic, it can cause several consequences on your health. Stress might increase your risk of developing conditions like depression that can impact your immune system negatively and also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.(1)

Stress can even leave a mark on the face of an affected individual. Dry skin, acne, and wrinkles are some of the ways that stress can manifest itself. Let’s now talk more about the effects of stress on your face.

Bags Under Eyes:

Stress can result in the appearance of bags under your eyes. This condition is characterized by puffiness or swelling beneath the eyelids. Bags under eyes, become common with age, and this is because the supporting muscles around your eyes are weak. Moreover, sagging skin that results due to a loss of elasticity can also contribute to bags under the eyes.

Research has shown that stress caused by sleep deprivation increase signs of aging like reduced elasticity, fines, and uneven pigmentation.(2) The loss of skin elasticity might also result in the appearance of bags under your eyes.


Our body starts producing more of the cortisol hormone when we feel stressed. Cortisol hormone causes the hypothalamus (a part of the brain) to produce corticotrophin-releasing hormone or CRH. This CRH is believed to stimulate oil release from sebaceous glands around the hair follicles. These sebaceous glands produce excessive oil that can clog your pores and result in the appearance of acne.(3)

Although it is believed that stress results in acne, there are only a few studies that have actually examined the connection.

A study conducted in 20177 looked at the effects of stress on acne in female medical students in their ages of 22 to 24 years. The researchers have found that higher stress levels positively correlated with acne severity.(4)

A South Korean epidemiological study conducted in the year 2011 has examined potential acne aggravating factors in 1,236 participants. (5) It was found that lack of sleep, stress, alcohol consumption, and menstruation can make acne potentially worse.


One more effect of stress on your face is that it can cause wrinkles. Stress results in changes to the proteins in your skin and also reduces the skin elasticity. This can result in the formation of wrinkles. Stress might also cause repeated furrowing of the brow, that might also lead to the appearance of wrinkles.

Dry Skin:

The outer layer of the skin is called as stratum corneum. This contains lipids and protein that play a crucial role in keeping the skin cells well-hydrated. This outer layer of the skin also acts as a barrier, that helps in protecting your skin underneath. When Stratum corneum is not working properly, your skin turns itchy and dry.

As per a review of 2014 published in Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets, a pair of studies that were performed on mice has found that stress impairs the barrier function of the Stratum corneum and might affect skin water retention negatively.(6)

Skin Redness:

Stress also causes redness of the skin. Stress is in fact the main element in Rosacea or an inflammatory condition of the skin, which is exacerbated if you are suffering from stress due to excessive alcohol consumption. Apart from this, there are also other inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema that are linked directly with stress.


Stress can potentially weaken your immune system. When your immune system is weakened there can be an imbalance of bacteria in your gut and skin, which is known as dysbiosis. When this imbalance appearance on the skin, it causes redness and skin rashes.

Stress is known to aggravate and trigger various conditions that might lead to skin rashes or inflamed skin, like eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.(7)

Increased Jaw Size:

One more effect of stress on your face could be an increased jaw size. With increased tooth grinding that is caused due to stress, there occurs a condition of increased jaw size.

Other Ways Stress Affects Your Face:

There are also some other ways stress affects your face. They are tooth/teeth damage, face flushing, and sore lips. Teeth grinding due to stress can cause damage to your teeth. There is also a change in your breathing habits and this can cause your face to temporarily flush. Sore lips also occur when you chew your lips while you feel excessive stressed.


It is known that stress can cause various effects on your face. It is also true that stress is unavoidable, However, when stress turns chronic, it can leave a severe impression on the face that might not be something you would ever like. So, you need to minimize certain avoidable causes of stress in life and also try learning techniques for managing stress that could help you in fighting stress and its effects on the face.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 13, 2021

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