Imagine you’ve had a really bad day, you’d call your best friend and tell them, right? Well, the same relationship dynamic exists between your emotional world and your skin. If your cortisol levels (also known as your stress hormones) spike, DING DING – your skin gets the DM.

Cortisol is a heavyweight contributor to inflammation, and inflammation is a catalyst for acne, rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis. It also effects our skin’s barrier– the skin starts to lose water in a process known as transepidermal water loss, which is associated with premature aging.

This co-dependency between the skin and the mind is a chicken-and-egg situation. For example: acne can cause psychosocial stress, and stress can exacerbate acne. The same bidirectional relationship can be seen in some cases of psoriasis, rosacea and other common skin conditions.



We all know what we should avoid – sugar, alcohol, caffeine, simple carbs, sugary drinks, and junk food in general. The goal here is to eat foods that reduce inflammation in your body to reduce cortisol levels.

Complex carbs are great for stress management as they’re serotonin triggers. Complex carbs take longer to digest and can help stabilize blood sugar. Think wholegrain breads, oats, and brown rice.

A magnesium deficiency could trigger headaches and fatigue, which compound the effects of stress. Choose foods like leavy vegetables, salmon, and nuts to replenish magnesium levels.

The Brits say “a cup of tea makes everything better” – well, they weren’t lying. Drinking tea may help you recover from stressful events faster. This is because there’s L-Theanine in tea which has been known to reduce levels of stress and anxiety.


Supplements can’t take stress away, nor can they replace a healthy diet, but they can be used to help you keep your cortisol levels in check.

Always be cautious when adding supplements to your diet and check in with a practitioner if they’re suitable for your lifestyle and the chronic medications you’re taking.

It’s also important to note, that the suggested supplements are not absolutes as some research has been inconclusive.


Ashwagandha has been an integral part of Ayurvedic Medicine for centuries. Ashwagandha is what’s known as an adaptogen, which means it’s believed to resist disease and regulate the effects of stress on the body.

There is some evidence linking ashwagandha with reduced stress and anxiety, and some research also suggests that it might be useful for improving sleep.


Magnesium is a mineral that the body uses to regulate dozens of processes, from the functioning of nerves and muscles to the synthesizing of protein and bone – and interestingly, most of us aren’t getting enough magnesium.

A 2017 review found that glycine can improve sleep, reduce inflammation, and help manage metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Along with those reasons, this type of magnesium is often recommended for anxiety because it’s well-absorbed and may help reduce stress levels.


Also known as golden root and arctic root, the Rhodiola rosea plant grows in the mountains of Europe and Asia, as well as in the Arctic.

Its roots are considered adaptogens, meaning they help your body adapt to stress when consumed. Rhodiola has been shown to improve symptoms of burnout, which can occur with chronic stress.

Rhodiola has a long history of use in traditional medicine to stimulate the nervous system, and in treating stress-induced fatigue and depression.



According to a 2016 study, it was noted that higher levels of mindfulness would be associated with lower levels of social anxiety, anxiety, depression and skin shame, and ultimately a better quality of life altogether.

I cannot stress enough the importance of meditation for mind, body, spirit, and general calm – even if it’s 5 minutes in a day. Download a meditation app like Insight Timer to support you on your meditation journey.


Exercise increases blood flow, and a bout of exercise helps flush cellular waste out of your system. Kind of like a facial from the inside out, and it what gives us that post workout glow!

Because burning calories helps with burning off residues of anxiety, it can decrease the likelihood or severity of skin conditions like acne, eczema.

And let’s be honest, nobody ever regretted a yoga class or going for a run, exercise is the ultimate stress management tool.


A walk on the beach, a hike, or a stroll through the countryside promotes blood circulation, which helps to carry oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to your skin.

Studies also show that spending time in nature relieves stress, which can help to prevent inflammation in the body that can manifest in conditions like psoriasis, rosacea and eczema.

Another important part of being outdoors is natural light, which helps to regulate our sleep cycle (essential for skin repair) and provides us with vitamin D which contributes to skin cell growth.

While we can’t escape life stressors, or being ambushed by unpleasant situations, we can put safety measures in place to assist with negotiating them, giving our skin the best opportunity of reprieve!