"When you're under stress, your brain sends messages to the adrenal gland, which releases hormones that turn up oil production in the skin," says Jeanette Graf, MD, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. "This excess oil interacts with your skin's natural bacteria, resulting in acne."
Look for products that cut oil, like a glycolic acid-based wash. Your diet can also leave its mark on your face. "Foods high in fat or refined sugar make the inflammatory reaction even worse," Dr. Graf says.
A smart move when you're under pressure: Hit the gym. "The endorphins that exercise releases can decrease stress hormones in your body," Dr. Graf explains.
Got a looming work deadline? "Even the tiniest bit of stress can cause blood vessels in your face to open up, turning your complexion flushed," says Richard Fried, MD, a dermatologist in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Instead of panicking—which only revs up the response—take a deep breath to calm your nervous system, Dr. Fried recommends. Yoga and meditation are also great.
While one crazy-chaotic day won't bring on wrinkles, being super-stressed constantly may speed up signs of aging. "Under pressure, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that attacks the collagen responsible for keeping your skin firm," Dr. Fried says.
A solution your whole body can benefit from: Catch some more zzz's. "When you sleep, your body releases melatonin, a hormone that offsets the release of cortisol," Dr. Fried says.