Cortisol is our body’s built-in alarm system. When a threat is detected, cortisol spikes to give you a burst of energy. In more peaceful times, this hormone plays an important role in a number of bodily processes, including skin health, energy levels, and hair growth.
Cortisol & Your Skin
Cortisol, or the “stress hormone,” is essential for the body’s proper responses to stress, but it is also critical for skin health. When the adrenal system decreases cortisol production, the body loses water, causing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and dehydrated skin, which compromises the skin barrier and increases risk of inflammation. With thinner skin, the blood vessels in your under eye area may become more prominent, showing up as dark circles. When cortisol is low, cell turnover is also slow, leading to a dull, congested complexion.
On the other hand, when cortisol is high, your body goes into high-stress mode and disrupts the skin’s normal healing processes. You may notice delayed healing of acne scars and more flare-ups of rosacea and eczema. Similar to testosterone, cortisol keeps the skin fortified with oil (sebum) production, so your skin can glow and defend itself from pollution and sun damage. However, too much oil can trap dead skin cells in the pores, leading to congestion and breakouts.
Cortisol & Your Health
Cortisol may also be influencing the health symptoms you are experiencing. It follows a diurnal rhythm, meaning it is synchronized with the day and night. It is highest when you wake to keep you alert and falls at night to wind you down. While not a medically accepted diagnosis, “adrenal fatigue” has been attributed to chronic stress, which may lead to a consistent underproduction of cortisol. The symptoms are thought to include unexplained weight loss, low energy, and brain fog. The medically accepted term - adrenal insufficiency - describes Addison’s disease, a very rare disorder that occurs when your body doesn't produce enough hormones.
On the flip side, research has shown that cortisol is positively correlated with symptoms of depression and anxiety. If you are experiencing weight gain and a preference for sweeter foods, you may also be feeling the effects of higher cortisol. Studies have also demonstrated that higher cortisol inhibits the growth of hair, so during times of stress, you may lose more hair.
Our skincare collection contains nature’s most potent botanicals and actives, precisely engineered to target the most common concerns caused by hormonal imbalances. Always endocrine-disruptor free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free.
A soothing cream gel that instantly calms breakout-prone skin and delivers antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
A refreshing gel that restores surface hydration while deeply moisturizing helping to plump and rebalance even the driest skin.
A gentle resurfacing gel that promotes cellular turnover to revitalize the complexion, ridding the skin of flaky patches and dullness.
A luminosity-enhancing gel that helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and melasma to recover the skin’s natural glow.
A replenishing facial cream that delivers customized hydration to all layers of the skin. Rich in biomimetic and adaptogenic actives to nourish the skin.
A nutrient dense serum that supports healthy skin aging. Powered by biomimetic and adaptogenic actives that energize and protect the skin.
“Stress can take a damaging toll, so cortisol balance is essential. Testing cortisol can give you vital information about ways to manage stress, improve skin health, and guide you towards better lifestyle choices.”
Dr. Gabrielle Francis, NMD, Functional Medicine, medical advisor to Veracity