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How Stress And Anxiety Affect The Skin | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

How Stress And Anxiety Affect The Skin

September 02, 2020

Everyone’s mood and life have been going on a roller-coaster the past year, and unfortunately, your mood directly affects your skin much more than you think. Here’s why.


Cortisol, Gut Health and Sleep Health

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the body to control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, fight illnesses, and influence memory formation. Under normal circumstances, it is anti-inflammatory, which is good. It also sets the body daily circadian rhythm so you can get out of bed in the morning and fall asleep at night. When you’re stressed and anxious, however, the body responds by over-producing cortisol as part of the fight-or-flight response. Without a proper way of relief, the extra cortisol in the body resulted from accumulated stress starts to become very inflammatory.

Skin health also heavily relies on gut health and sleep health, and together they can cause a variety of skin issues. Excess cortisol directly affects our gut, leading to symptoms such as poor digestion, stomach cramps, bloating, and constipation, which then manifest into acne, inflammations, and dull skin. On the other hand, during sleep is when healing molecules like beta-endorphins, growth hormones, and oxytocin get released in the body. Without enough quality sleep, the skin won’t be able to repair itself.



When you’re feeling anxious and irritated, your blood flow increases. This can lead to expanded capillaries, which turns the face red and puffy. While this affects everyone, those with skin concerns like rosacea must keep their cortisol levels in check to avoid stimulating their capillaries.

What Products To Use: Use products containing ingredients that are highly soothing and reparative to bring down that redness. L’ascorbic acid, strong, foaming cleansers, and oil-controlling products should be avoided.

Agent Nateur holi(oil) Ageless Face Serum | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

holi(oil) Ageless Face Serum  <- Click to shop

With a base of Rice Bran Oil and Rosehip Oil that are rich in Vitamins A and E, as well as actives including Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Calcium Ketogluconate, Damascus Rose Extract and Helichrysum and Sandalwood Oil, the lightweight holi(oil) reduces fine lines and wrinkles, promotes cell and collagen regeneration and self-hyaluronic acid production, reduces redness, soothes and improves rosacea and eczema, and effectively slows aging. The ingredients are also clinically-proven to actually reduce acne, scarring and hyperpigmentation!




Excess cortisol can break down elastin and collagen. Moreover, constant frowning and holding extra pressure in the face can also cause wrinkles, especially on the forehead, at the nasal folds, and around the eyes. If this keeps on going, the skin will not be able to bounce back one day, leading to permanent wrinkles.

What Products To Use: To stimulate elastin and collagen production whilst smoothing out those fine lines and wrinkles, use products that contain peptides, retinol, and AHAs. Consistency is key here.

KLUR Immersion Serum Concentrate | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

Immersion Serum Concentrate 
<- Click to shop

Besides having a wide range of ultra hydrating ingredients, the serum is also packed with 3 forms of Peptides to stimulate collagen synthesis and micro-circulation, improve skin barrier and hydration, reduce wrinkles and inflammation, regenerate collagen fibers, and rejuvenate skin. Whilst, Niacinamide, Reishi, Gotu Kola, White Tea and Chamomile etc. are added to brighten, fight free radicals, hydrate and soothe.



Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis and Irritations

Not only does cortisol exacerbate inflammations, leading to eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and irritations etc., the higher its level is, the more insulin the body will produce, which in turn stimulates the skin to pump out extra sebum. And there you have it, acne, whiteheads and blackheads.

What Products To Use: Give the skin extra ammunition to fight off inflammations with topical probiotic and prebiotic. The former creates a protective shield by preventing bad bacteria from provoking an immune reaction, fights off bad bacteria by producing natural antibiotics called antimicrobial peptides on the skin, and boost the skin's health; whilst, the latter serves as the food source for the good bacteria on the skin, and promote a more diverse array of bacteria that is key to healthy skin.

Marie Reynolds London Restore | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

Restore  <- Click to shop

In addition to the only 8 probiotic live culture technology on the market, the formula is also fortified with 2 kinds of prebiotic, vitamin D-rich Alfalfa, antioxidant superfood Açaí Berry, soothing and anti-inflammatory Hemp Protein, vitamin C-rich Acerola Berry, as well as detoxifying Chlorella, Dandelion and Spirulina, to effectively relieve and improve inflammation, balance skin, promote skin cell repair and regeneration, and restore skin health. Especially suitable for various skin inflammation problems such as rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, sensitivity and acne.



Cortisol severely weakens the skin’s natural barrier and its ability to retain water. This essentially means the skin gets dehydrated, a lot drier, and much more sensitive and prone to acne and even more inflammations. Worse, if the skin is constantly dry, you may find hyperpigmentation and wrinkles start to get worse.

What Products To Use: A heavy, thick moisturizer is never the answer to repairing the skin barrier——in fact, it could cause clogged pores and breakouts. Instead, choose a moisturizer that is rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid and phytosterols, as well as regenerative botanicals, to nurture the epidermal barrier back to health.

Twelve Beauty Nutritive Repair Emulsion | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

Twelve Beauty
Nutritive Repair Emulsion 
<- Click to shop

Developed to target the golden time at night for skin repair, the gentle yet powerful botanical ingredients, including Cupuaçu Butter, Argan Oil, Spent Grain Wax, Sunflower Seed Oil, White Genepì, Mallow, Masterwort and Butterfly Bush moisturize, repair the lipid barrier, increase elasticity, soothe and reduce sensitivity, while helping to regenerate and strengthen the skin overnight.


At the end of the day, finding the right way of relief is paramount in the long-term (as in don’t turn to alcohol and cigarettes!). Yet the truth is, once the cortisol levels are high, it can be difficult to bring them down. So what can you do then?

Besides exercising, meditation, and yoga, try to have a phone/news-free hour everyday to give the mind some room to breathe, and try taking in nature for as long as you can——did you know, even staring at a tree has a cortisol lowering effect. Also, from time to time, put politics, daily chores and worries aside, and enjoy some quiet, fun times with your loved ones, doing something that you love.

What we always tend to forget is that sometimes, simple things in life, like a hug, can actually do wonders.


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