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Serotonin and Skin: Neurotransmitters causing havoc with your skin?

Serotonin and Skin: Neurotransmitters causing havoc with your skin?

Today, we're delving into a topic close to our hearts: the intricate relationship between feeling good and looking better.

The Skin-Mind Connection

For many of us, skin conditions are not just skin deep. They reflect our inner emotional state and can significantly impact our self-esteem. Have you ever noticed that stress can lead to breakouts or dull skin and affecting your self-esteem? Or that during periods of happiness, your skin seems to glow naturally? This is no coincidence.

The link between mental health and skin condition is a two-way street. Mental stresses, be it from fear of failure, social comparison, or negative thought patterns, can manifest physically in various forms like:

  • Breakouts and spots
  • Flare ups or red skin
  • Dullness and uneven skin tones
  • Visible pores and wrinkles
  • Dry or dehydrated skin

Understanding the Stress-Skin Connection

Stress triggers a cascade of hormonal changes, primarily the release of cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone. This hormonal fluctuation impacts our skin in various ways:

  1. Breakouts and Spots: Elevated cortisol levels can stimulate sebum production, the oil our skin produces. Excess sebum can clog pores, leading to acne or breakouts. Stress can also disrupt the balance of bacteria on the skin, exacerbating acne issues.
  2. Flare Ups or Red Skin: Stress-induced cortisol release can cause inflammation triggers the wound healing process, biological self-healing. This inflammation can lead to the dilation of blood vessels, making the skin appear redder and more inflamed, often seen in conditions like rosacea.
  3. Dullness and Uneven Skin Tones: Chronic stress affects blood flow to the skin, depriving it of essential nutrients and oxygen. This lack of nourishment can leave the skin looking dull and lifeless. Additionally, stress can exacerbate conditions like hyperpigmentation by triggering melanogenesis, leading to uneven skin tones.
  4. Visible Pores and Wrinkles: High cortisol levels can break down collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for keeping our skin firm and elastic. This degradation can result in more visible pores and wrinkles, as well as a loss of skin plumpness and elasticity.
  5. Dry or Dehydrated Skin: Cortisol can cause decreased lipids and affect the structural integrity of key proteins such as collagen. This weakening, leads to compromise of skin strength and defences, loss of key natural moisturising factors such as hyaluronic acid, ceramide degradation and absorption of free radicals. The resulting fragility, impacts biological wound healing, the ability of the body to repair from environmental and lifestyle stress, all of which leads to inflammation that causes the signs of skin trauma and premature ageing. When the barrier is compromised it can lead swiftly to increased TEWL causing dehydration.

Balancing the Equation

Combatting these skin concerns involves managing stress and taking care of our skin. Simple practices like mindfulness, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can significantly reduce cortisol levels, benefiting both our mental health and skin condition. Proper skincare, hydration, and professional treatments can also address these specific concerns effectively.

Understanding Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is often a silent battle. Signs include persistent self-doubt, reluctance in decision-making, and an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. But can it be improved? Absolutely.

Boosting Self-Esteem: The Serotonin Secret

Our mental health plays a pivotal role in regulating our skin condition. This is where neurotransmitters like serotonin come into play. Serotonin, often termed the 'feel-good neurotransmitter,' is key to feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Fluctuations in serotonin levels can significantly impact our self-esteem and social interactions.

By nurturing our mental wellbeing and boosting serotonin levels, we can not only feel better but also look better. Simple practices like mindfulness, engaging in activities that bring joy, and fostering positive social interactions can elevate serotonin levels.


It's important to note that while there's a strong connection between mental health and skin health, not all skin conditions stem from psychological factors. Genetics, environmental aspects, and lifestyle choices also play a crucial role.

To Our Dear Readers

You, our readers, are at the heart of our community. We encourage you to embrace a lifestyle that balances self-care and wellbeing. Remember, feeling good about yourself is the first step to looking better. Your journey to wellness is unique, and we're here to support you every step of the way.