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Why stress could be causing your sensitive skin

Why Stress Could Be Causing Your Sensitive Skin

Let's face it, life is stressful. Juggling work, family, friends and, ahem, a certain global pandemic is enough to send us head first into a boxset binge. So it's no wonder that our skin is feeling just as sensitive to stress as we are. In fact, it's estimated that between 60-70% of women now experience some form of sensitive skin, whether it's redness, irritation or all-out eczema. Sound stressful? You can see our predicament. 

While our heart rate may rise, our temperature increase and we suddenly have an inclination to scream into a pillow, our skin reacts to stress in the same reactive way as our body. With the release of excess cortisol (the stress hormone) from the adrenal glands, our immune system becomes compromised and blood pressure rises. This, in turn, leaves our complexion vulnerable to oxidative stress resulting in fine lines and dull, lacklustre skin.

And that's not all. As a side effect, inflammation levels rise in the body and cause common skin complaints such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. Throw in some sleepless nights (due to all of that cortisol coursing through our veins) and we have a cocktail of skin woes on our hands. Tackling sensitive skin on top of the original cause of stress is certainly a cruel twist of fate and one that is far from coincidental, as a 2015 study revealed that 63% of participants said that their sensitive skin had flared up during a difficult time in their lives. 

Luckily, there are solutions to nix stress and banish sensitive skin with these top tips:


Simple breathing exercises, 10-minute meditation and finding simple pleasures to relax is key to lowering cortisol levels and alleviating its impact on the skin. And if you needed another reason to put your phone down after hours, research has shown that long-term blue light exposure can cause inflammation, and weakening of the skin's surface.


Stress is an inevitable part of life but finding an effective coping strategy can speed up recovery, aid the body's healing process and minimise skin damage. Just a quick 10 minute walk can boost your feel-good endorphins, lower cortisol levels, slow your heart rate and improve concentration. In addition to pounding the pavement, getting your feelings down on paper can be a cathartic activity to relieve a busy mind and make a pragmatic plan to tackle what's bothering you. 


Tackling skin sensitivity takes a two-prong approach both internally and externally. Caring and nourishing skincare ingredients, such as vitamin E (to help protect skin's barrier function), and rosehip oil (to support cell regeneration) are key in your skincare regime, while making sure you avoid harsh skin ingredients. It's why we created our Willowberry Sensitive Face Oil, an ultra-gentle, 100% natural formulation that is packed with skin-healing grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, chia seed and vitamin E, to help target inflammation, irritation and redness while soothing and hydrating skin.

Article by Jessica Harris

Willowberry is 'Nutritious Natural' skincare for grown-ups for your best skin. Launched in 2017, Willowberry is an award-winning independent British brand that has gained a cult following. Loved by top make-up artists, the streamlined, highly effective range protects skin’s natural barrier function to nourish and transform grown-up skin, with indulgent formulas that feed the skin and soul.

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