Stress is rather hard to quantify in any physical sense; everyone knows it exists, everyone knows it’s bad for your health, but it’s incredibly difficult to see stress manifest in a manner in which you can actually measure it and know you’re experiencing too much of it! Luckily, your skin has an inbuilt lack of tolerance towards the stress hormone cortisol, which means outbreaks are likely as a result. We say luckily, because it actually serves as a great countermeasure against stress due to it alerting us of its presence; if your skin is starting to look a little on the down side and you aren’t sure why, then the chances are that you need to work on relaxation and having more of it!

Here are some of the warning signs…


Unexplainable rashes are a dead give away that you’re probably suffering a little too much stress. This is due to a reaction in the stomach that causes an influx of bad bacteria, and as such, it runs wild and leads to outbreaks on the exterior of the body.

Redness of the face

When we’re stressed it’s easy to abandon logic and even overlook the basic needs of the human body, but it’s incredibly important that you learn to recognize when you’re experiencing bouts of extreme stress and focus on breathing deeply, keeping as calm as possible and generally allowing your body to function as it normally should whilst your brain processes the information. If you’re not able to do this, you’ll find that you go red in the face, make your breathing shallow, and potentially even hyperventilate which is obviously not something anyone wants!

Going grey

Many people think that stress making your hair go grey is an old wives tale, when in actual fact it’s just science. Too much stress can cause your melanin production to diminish; melanin is a vital component for hair pigmentation and repair, meaning that without it, you’re doomed to become a silver fox. There’s nothing wrong with grey hair of course, but we’re guessing you’d probably rather keep your colour for a little longer.

Brittle nails and thinning hair

So harmful is the hormone cortisol that there’s pretty much nothing about your body it can’t impact negatively when it’s released in high volumes. This is something you need to take incredibly seriously and make some serious effort to reduce the amount of stress in your life, as stress is ultimately what leads to excess cortisol release. As it affects the structure and replenishment of cells, this extends to hair and nail composition, meaning hair can “thin out” and nails can start to crack and become brittle. If that’s not worth de stressing for nothing is!

You should pay close attention to these warning signs at all times, as they are clear indicators that you need to unwind more. Make time to relax more often, and you’ll avoid many of these negative side effects completely. Take a deep breath and detach yourself from your worries for a few minutes every hour; you’ll soon find that nothing is often as bad as it first seems!

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Judy Greenway