A product of the adrenal glands, cortisol is released in response to stress. This has a domino affect, increasing your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and breathing to prepare for action. But the downside is that it also slows down other functions like your digestive and reproductive systems in order to conserve energy. This is why long-term exposure to cortisol can have a detrimental affect on your health. Cortisol helps maintain adequate levels of moisture in skin, but can put your skin’s oil production in overdrive. That can lead to another unwelcome byproduct of stress: acne.