If you’re a skincare aficionado, at all, you know there’s a significant link between stress and skin.

By definition, stress is any type of change that causes, physical, emotional, or psychological strain.[1] Stress is natural — it’s a given in our society, seeing that our days are rife with decision-making and the world we inhabit is full of environmental stressors like pollutants.

Note that stress isn’t necessarily unhealthy. Stress encourages the growth of stem cells, helps create collagen, and aids in our adaptation to new environments. In contained levels, it’s a tool to keep our bodies on alert. Categorically, there are two forms of stress: acute and chronic. Acute stress tends to be short-term…perhaps due to a looming deadline or other events. Chronic stress refers to a consistent state of overwhelm — this is when the skin barrier suffers.

Chronic stress does a number on the skin barrier. The production of internal free radicals is elevated, which causes oxidative stress, dehydration, skin barrier damage, acne, and the production of fine lines and wrinkles.[2] Chronic stress is known to slow the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, resulting in thinner skin. Chronic stress also results in the overproduction of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. When there is too much cortisol, the body slows the production of necessary oils — rough skin, an inability to seal hydration, and transepidermal water loss follow.

The fun doesn’t stop — chronic stress shifts the skin’s pH, and the microbiomes that call your skin barrier home. Shifted pH levels make it difficult for the microbiome to thrive, often depleting populations. Microbes, our skin’s hidden heroes, feed off of sebum and are natural exfoliants. They also produce desirable peptides and ceramides, while offering a natural layer of protection.

If you take anything away from this piece, let it be that chronic stress isn’t great for the

skin. The more stressed you become, the more impacts compound. While chronic stress can’t be solved by skincare products (if only it was that easy!), there are a number of strategies to reduce the impact of stress. Some are lifestyle shifts, other are topical applications.

  • Set aside products with harsh active ingredients like retinol or glycolic acid. Your skin is already sensitive and it’s likely that your skin barrier is fragmented. Introducing active ingredients can be detrimental to your skin in the state it’s in.[3]
  • Prioritize moisture: chronic stress leads to dehydration — give your skin some salvation with hydrating products. We recommend the Hydro-Glow Face Mask. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well.
  • Go back to the basics: let your skin reset by choosing products free of fragrance, colors, or dye. You’ll want to steer toward gentle and natural products — while setting aside makeup to give the skin a break.
  • Look toward lifestyle shifts. Chronic stress stems from an imbalance of some sort. Even when life feels chaotic, there are methods for reducing stress. Think meditation, breath work, deep sleep, reduced screen time, and time outdoors.[4]

ALMAdeLIA Product Recommendations for Chronic Stress:

Hydro-Glow Face Mask: This nature-assisted mask hydrates, nourishes, and replenishes dry and dull skin, providing a firm moisturizing layer that provides long-term locked-in deep hydration and collagen boost.

Hemp Seed Barrier Repair Facial Oil: divine hydration, unmatched glow, and revitalized skin in 28 days. Hemp Seed Oil acts as a key element of this formula — ceramides found in the oil support the barrier membrane by preventing moisture loss and maintaining supple skin.

Premium Jade GuaSha: chronic stress is a cry for help. Nourish your skin and yourself with the deep relaxing act that is a GuaSha. Reduce the tension in your face, eliminate puffiness and improve circulation with this beautiful jade face guasha.


[1] World Health Organization

[2] Bowe WP, Logan AC. Clinical implications of lipid peroxidation in acne vulgaris: old wine in new bottles. Lipids Health Dis. 2010 Dec 9;9:141. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-9-141. PMID: 21143923; PMCID: PMC3012032.

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/08/fashion/this-is-your-skin-on-stress.html

[4] https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/10/relaxation-response-proves-positive/