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Is your lifestyle stressing your skin out?

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

We have all had that important date on the calendar coming up, and a day or so before, what happens – our skin breaks out. Many different things in our day-to-day life can affect how our skin reacts. Some in the short term and others over the long term. Here the Healthwords medical team takes a look at some of these lifestyle factors in detail that can contribute to changes in your skin.

Doctor’s advice


There is a complex relationship between the mind and body that modern medicine hasn’t fully understood or evidenced so far, but it makes sense that your mind and your skin (your largest organ) are linked. I think we are pretty comfortable with the fact that hormonal changes can affect your skin. Stressful life situations such as the run-up to a big exam would easily lead to a response of stress biochemicals in your brain and body. This, in turn, provides a direct link between the mental health burden and the physical changes experienced in your skin.

Avoiding stress isn’t always possible, but focusing on talking about and addressing your mental health when it isn’t 100% is a good place to start. Try to pre-empt stressful periods such as exam season or work deadlines. It can be useful to incorporate good coping strategies and perform tasks that can help with stress levels – take time out with mindfulness and meditation or whatever you find to keep stress levels down.


We are always talking about hydration at Healthwords – such an important foundation of day-to-day life, especially during a bout of illness. Hydration regarding your skin is twofold, keeping the top layer of your skin hydrated with moisturizers and your body generally hydrated with a certain level of fluids. For the top layer of your skin, ensure that any dryness is combatted with a cream or ointment that is effective at moisturizing.

For hydration, drinking 64 ounces daily (6 to 8 cups) of water is a good starting point. For those engaging in high-sweat activities, or if you just want an extra hydration helping hand, O.R.S hydration tablets meet the World Health Organization’s standard for oral rehydration solutions. Salts are essential alongside water to keep your body balanced and your skin and other organs working at their best.


It doesn’t take a trip to your doctor’s office to know that smoking causes all sorts of direct and indirect problems for your skin. The effect smoking has on blood vessels that supply your skin leads to damage over long periods. A damaged blood supply means less oxygen and a lower blood supply of the skin’s essential nutrients. It also makes healing wounds or clearing up spots that much harder. Indirectly, repetitive pursing of your lips around a cigarette will lead to facial wrinkles. The best thing to do for skin health and maintaining youthful looks is to give it up; there are several strategies to help you.


Alcohol intake has been linked to an increased risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinoma. It’s not quite the acne spots before a big date that we were talking about, but still something worth considering over the long run concerning your skin.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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