If you enjoyed the most recent article on The Love Vitamin called “11 Eye-Opening Things Your Skin Could Be Trying to Tell You“, then you might be wondering exactly how and why stressful emotions affect the skin. What’s the science behind it?

Well, Ashby, from ashbysalternative.com, is going to give you her take on why it is exactly that emotions can be the culprit behind those nasty breakouts.


Why does society say that breakouts on the skin or other chronic skin diseases are caused by hormones but never give us (the patients) any further detail?!

Instead they prescribe medication and hand out face wash. Why do they give us TEMPORARY SOLUTIONS instead of getting to the route of the problem?!

Oh it’s a hormone imbalance, you will out grow it! Did one of your parents have this problem? It’s probably just your genetics. No worries, it’s just one of those things you have to go through in life. These are the usual commentaries by our doctors.

I personally think that YES hormones do effect the skin but more importantly how and why?! 

Well hormones are NATURAL chemicals that deliver messages through your bloodstream to specific organs. Androgens are basically the male hormones and estrogens are the female hormones. However, women have a small amount of androgens as well.

So wait… how are hormones controlled?

THROUGH NEUROTRANSMITERS! Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain and body.

Here is where this gets specific and interesting:

Androgens and Estrogens can increase the number of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin at the neural synapses.

  • Norepinephrine is produced by the adrenal glands to help us have consistent energy throughout each day. It is released when we get angry or feel that we are in danger.
  • Dopamine is associated with our motivation and drive. It is specifically connected with the information pathway to the brain.
  • Serotonin is the mood hormone! Most behavior mood problems are associated with serotonin imbalances and people often have depression or anxiety when this hormone is imbalanced.

OK! So how does this effect my skin?!

The mood changes by the previous neurotransmitters can result in aggravating your gastrointestinal tract aka your GUT! This is where the secret lies!

Before now it has been a theory, but recent studies are showing that stress from emotions stagnates intestinal transit time which results in an overgrowth of bacteria, called small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO can lead to both systemic and local inflammation, which in turn contributes to skin disease.

The good news is that studies have shown that by taking probiotics you can reduce the skin inflammation due to the Bacillus Acidophilus cultures in the probiotics.

In short, the key to understanding how emotions affect the skin is understanding that your body is multiple systems working together in harmony. When hormones are not in balance due to emotional stress it can lead to inflammation as your body’s natural response.


Ashby is a current neuroscience student in Atlanta, Ga. She was inspired by other bloggers and decided to create a site about the science behind what goes on inside the human body.  She was diagnosed with Celiac disease and wanted to learn about what causes it as well as other chronic illnesses.

If you want to learn more, check out ashbysalternative.com

photo by sleepwarrior.com