Stressed out? It shows on your skin

Stressed out? It shows on your skin

Contributed by Dr Kok Wai Leong, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, StarMed Specialist Centre

Is stress wreaking havoc on your skin? If you’re noticing rashes, acne breakouts, or other skin issues, it may be more than just a coincidence. 

I often get asked by patients whether there is a link between stress and skin health – the short answer is a resounding yes. Many of us have experienced outbreaks of rashes, acne, or sensitive skin during stressful periods. This is your body’s response to stressors from environmental changes or personal challenges.

Stress stems from various sources, from preparing for an important presentation to coping with loss or a devastating life event. When feeling stressed, your body triggers a chain reaction of increased levels of hormones and chemical signals. These changes can manifest in various skin, hair, and nail issues, including:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Inflammation in the skin
  • Hair loss
  • More oil and sebum production
  • Skin infection and delayed wound healing

Sensitive skin
During periods of stress, your body’s immune response undergoes changes that can lead to more sensitive and reactive skin. As a result, you may notice redness and itching, or stress-induced hives characterised by raised, itchy bumps or patches.

Inflammation in the skin
Stress is a catalyst for various inflammatory skin conditions, notably atopic dermatitis and rosacea. Atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema, flares up due to heightened inflammation levels during stressful periods. Similarly, rosacea, characterised by facial redness, worsens as stress triggers increased blood flow to the skin, intensifying the symptoms.

Immune-related conditions, also known as autoimmune diseases, occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells, including those of the skin. Individuals with vitiligo, a condition characterised by white patches on the skin, may experience exacerbations triggered by extreme or sudden stress.

Hair loss
Hair loss, known as telogen effluvium, is another common consequence of stress. This condition often occurs after significant physical or emotional stressors, resulting in temporary hair loss and nail abnormalities.

More oil and sebum production
Individuals with acne may notice flare-ups during times of stress. This occurs due to heightened cortisol levels, which stimulate increased activity in the oil glands. Similarly, skin infections like cold sores may flare up, and wounds may take longer to heal when stress levels are high.

Skin Infection and delayed wound healing
Skin infections such as cold sores are typically more active during periods of stress. Also, you might find that your skin does not heal as well when you are stressed.

Behavioural and lifestyle effects
Stress can indirectly affect your skin in many ways through behavioural and lifestyle changes. It can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or difficulty falling asleep, and exacerbate tendencies to scratch or touch the skin, which can further aggravate existing rashes or acne.

Furthermore, individuals under stress may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive consumption of sugary and dairy-laden comfort foods or increased alcohol and tobacco use. These actions may aggravate skin inflammation and worsen conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or urticaria.

Caring for your skin during times of stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life, affecting everyone to varying degrees. While it’s impossible to completely eradicate stress from our daily routines, there are effective strategies for mitigating its impact on both our minds and skin.

Begin by prioritising relaxation techniques such as mindfulness exercises. These practices can significantly reduce stress levels, benefiting you’re your mind and your skin. Additionally, adopting healthy habits like staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and ensuring you get enough sleep can work wonders for your skin health.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Stick to a consistent healthy lifestyle routine, as your skin requires good habits for repair and restoration.
  • Adhere to any additional skincare routines recommended by your dermatologist to address specific concerns.
  • Be mindful of your urge to scratch or touch your face. Instead, try distraction techniques like tapping and keep your hands clean.
  • If you find yourself struggling to cope with stress, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Behavioural therapy and other therapeutic options can provide valuable support.

By being mindful of the impact of stress on our skin and taking proactive steps to manage it, you can safeguard your skin’s health and appearance. Remember to continue implementing these lifestyle and skincare practices, and if your skin concerns persist, consult with a dermatologist for personalised guidance.

Schedule a consultation with StarMed’s Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Kok Wai Leong, via our Virtual Patient Companion here. Alternatively, you may reach out to us at 6322 6333, or through WhatsApp at 9655 2101 to secure an appointment.


  1. Hunter HJA, Momen SE, Kleyn CE, et al. The impact of psychosocial stress on healthy skin. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2015;40(5):540–546.
  2. Patel A, Jafferany M, et al. Multidisciplinary and Holistic Models of Care for Patients With Dermatologic Disease and Psychosocial Comorbidity: A Systematic Review. JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(6):686–694.

HR Vendors of the Year Awards 2023 – Silver Award for Best Corporate Healthcare Provider

HR Vendors of the Year Awards 2023 – Silver Award for Best Corporate Healthcare Provider

MHC is honored to have received the Silver Award for Best Corporate Healthcare Provider at the HR Vendors of the Year Awards on November 24. With a rich history spanning 29 years, our commitment to Corporate Healthcare has made us a trusted partner, delivering affordable, high-quality solutions to over 1 million customers, through a network of over 1,500 clinics across Singapore.

Our vision revolves around integrating People, Process, and Technology for exceptional healthcare outcomes. We would like to use this opportunity to thank  all our partners and staff in helping us develop and strengthen our Corporate Healthcare programme covering Health & Wellness services, GP and SP panel services, telemedicine, in-house clinics, and flexible benefits.

This award is a testament to the unwavering dedication of our incredible team, marking a significant milestone in our journey to positively impact lives and empower individuals to take control of their health. We remain committed to our vision to simplify healthcare and connect stakeholders in the delivery chain using information technology and big data analytics.

We’re a health technology company, but our business is about 𝗣𝗘𝗢𝗣𝗟𝗘. Thank you once again to all our clients and partners for supporting us all these years.

HRM Asia Readers Choice Award 2023 for the Best HR Tech – Employee Benefits Solution

HRM Asia Readers Choice Award 2023 for the Best HR Tech – Employee Benefits Solution

MHC Asia Group was delighted to receive the Gold Award for the Best HR Tech – Employee Benefits Solution at HRM Asia Readers Choice Award 2023 on 3rd November. The awards are presented to HR partners and solution providers to recognise their efforts in the HR industry, and we are honoured to be recognised for our contributions to the Employee Benefits sector.

We believe in making healthcare more affordable for everyone while also ensuring more accountability and ownership in managing individual and corporate healthcare outcomes, with the main goal of creating a healthier and more productive Singapore.

With this award, we would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to all the voters who supported us, and we would like to congratulate all of the other recipients who also received awards during this ceremony.

Find out more about HRM Asia Readers Choice Awards here

Wish to find out more about our wide range of Employee Benefits solutions? Visit or contact for more information.

HMI Group Expands Specialist Offering with Majority Stake Acquisition of Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre

HMI Group Expands Specialist Offering with Majority Stake Acquisition of Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre

This acquisition reinforces HMI Group’s ambition to provide one-stop healthcare services and capabilities to patients in Singapore and the region

The partnership is a step towards building a leading cardiology group in Southeast Asia, leveraging HMI Group’s integrated healthcare network, growing patient base and regional presence

Singapore – 1 November 2023 – Health Management International Pte Ltd (“HMI Group”), a regional private healthcare provider with presence in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, continues its expansion by acquiring a majority stake in The Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre (“Harley Street”), a leading private cardiovascular group in Singapore.

Founded in 2012, Harley Street is the first combined heart and vascular group in Singapore offering multidisciplinary specialist care for patients with cardiovascular diseases (“CVDs”). Today, Harley Street operates four centres in Singapore and one in Cambodia together with a team of 5 cardiology and vascular surgery specialists. Harley Street offers a comprehensive range of subspecialities including advanced cardiovascular imaging, cardiac electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, heart failure and preventive cardiology, and vascular surgery.

CVDs remain the top cause of mortality in Singapore, accounting for 1 in 3 deaths in 2020.[i] The increasing prevalence of common risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, and hyperlipidaemia also contributes to this trend. Harley Street’s specialists will work closely with HMI Group’s primary care network to address the growing need for more accessible and comprehensive cardiovascular care, and support patients at every stage of their cardiovascular health journey.

This partnership complements HMI Group’s strategy of developing an integrated healthcare platform and broaden its specialist services portfolio in South East Asia. Ms. Chin Wei Jia, Group Chief Executive Officer of HMI Group, said, “Investing in Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre is a significant step in broadening HMI Group’s portfolio to offer comprehensive healthcare solutions within and beyond hospital settings. This partnership aligns well with our mission to building healthier communities, and we are excited to welcome Harley Street into the HMI family. With the collective experience and track record of Dr Reginald Liew, Dr Rohit Khurana and Harley Street’s team of highly skilled and sub-specialised cardiology and vascular specialists, we look forward to supporting Harley Street’s growth aspirations to provide comprehensive cardiology and vascular care to local and regional communities.”

Dr Reginald Liew, Director and Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Harley Street expressed his optimism about the partnership and said, “Joining forces with HMI Group opens up new horizons for us to extend our cardiovascular expertise and specialist network in Singapore and across Southeast Asia. Through HMI Group’s strong network, we hope to elevate the standard of heart and vascular care and enable more patients to benefit from our commitment to excellence.”

Dr Rohit Khurana, Director and Senior Consultant General and Interventional Cardiologist added, “As the detection of heart problems often begins in the primary care physician’s office, HMI Group’s network of primary care doctors can refer patients for early specialist evaluation, allowing patients to be seen and treated more quickly while reducing their number of appointments. By forging a strong specialist-primary care partnership with the support of HMI Group, we can improve access to quality care, supporting different aspects of patients’ cardiovascular health.”

Tardis Capital advised Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre in this transaction.

About HMI Group

Founded in 1998, HMI Group is a fast-growing regional healthcare provider committed to advancing healthcare and changing lives for communities across Southeast Asia. In Singapore, the Group owns StarMed Specialist Centre, an 11-storey one-stop ambulatory care centre, Eagle Eye Centre, the largest private ophthalmology group, OneCare Medical, a nationwide primary care chain, MHC Asia Group, a leading medical benefits administrator, and HMI Institute, the Group’s social enterprise providing healthcare education. In Malaysia, it owns two tertiary hospitals, Mahkota Medical Centre in Melaka and Regency Specialist Hospital in Johor. HMI also has a network of representative offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

For more information, please visit:

About Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre

Established in 2012, Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre is one of the leading private cardiology and vascular service provider in Singapore. Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre operates a chain of four centres in Singapore and one in Cambodia together with five specialist doctors.

Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre offers a wide range of cardiovascular subspecialties, such as coronary angiography and intervention, implantation of cardiac pacemakers and devices, catheter ablation of cardiac arrhythmias and peripheral vascular intervention.

In addition to general check-up the group offers screening packages and management plans tailored to patient’s cardiovascular needs.

For more information, please visit:


Business Solution Series: Fostering Business Resilience Through Workplace Wellness

Business Solution Series: Fostering Business Resilience Through Workplace Wellness

In conjunction with World Mental Wellness Day, MHC hosted an exclusive seminar with Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Fostering Business Resilience Through Workplace, on 11 October. This seminar featured Mr. Rui Savio Dass as the keynote speaker, who delivered an insightful speech on how business leaders plays a part in supporting their employee’s well-being during crisis. Additionally, Mr. Rui along with other panel speakers, Ms. Alyssa Stark and Dr. Maleena Suppiah Cavert, engaged in a fireside chat discussing the role of mental wellness in driving employee workplace performance with the session expertly moderated by our CEO, Ms Kabita Karthigeyan.

Members of SBF also had a fruitful session from the important key takeaways. The fireside chat highlighted the need for business leaders to actively foster a culture of mental wellness and coaching, promote diversity and inclusion, building empathetic connections and focus on meeting employee’s needs and wants beyond just pantries and gyms.

At MHC, we understand the importance of your employee’s well-being and your organisation’s health. Speak to us today on how we can help your organisation remain at the forefront of workplace wellness!

Find out more about MHC’s Mental Wellness Programme here or contact us via

FWD HealthFirst provides free medical teleconsultations for customers

FWD HealthFirst provides free medical teleconsultations for customers

The service also entails healthcare services at affordable prices.

FWD Singapore has introduced a new value-added service named FWD HealthFirst, developed in collaboration with MHC Asia.

This service grants FWD protection plan policyholders and their families access to primary healthcare services at preferential rates and offers free teleconsultations.

The partnership aims to ease the 4.2% year-on-year price hike in healthcare, referencing Singapore’s consumer price index figures.

FWD HealthFirst is available to both new and existing customers of FWD protection plans, with no extra charges. Notably, this benefit extends to family members, encompassing spouses, children, parents, and grandparents.

By including family members, FWD intends to safeguard the overall well-being and financial security of customers and their dependents, attending to their insurance needs and beyond.

Through FWD HealthFirst, FWD introduces free medical teleconsultations, enhancing healthcare accessibility.

These virtual appointments, accessible around the clock, connect individuals with experienced healthcare professionals, eliminating the need for physical visits and lengthy waiting times. Additionally, medicine delivery is accessible at preferential rates.

Further, the program offers customers preferred rates for general practitioner (GP) and dental services at over 600 MHC GP and dental clinics. This ensures that healthcare expenses remain manageable.

For instance, a standard GP consultation, typically costing between S$20 and S$55, would be reduced to S$13 through FWD HealthFirst.

By substantially reducing healthcare costs, FWD aims to assist individuals and families to prioritise their well-being without compromising financial stability.

View SBR’s original article here:

President’s Certificate of Commendation for Covid-19

President’s Certificate of Commendation for Covid-19

On 18 June 2023, we were delighted to receive The President’s Certificate of Commendation for Covid-19, recognising our significant contributions alongside government agencies and private organizations that played vital roles during the pandemic.

Our efforts were praised for the positive impact we made, and we are proud to have contributed to our nation’s response to Covid-19. Congratulations to all the other recipients who also received this prestigious award!

The President’s Certificate of Commendation for Covid-19 is an award part of the National Awards (COVID-19). These awards acknowledge exceptional public spirit and remarkable contributions to Singapore’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Find out more about the National Awards for Covid-19 here: and the investiture here

2.2 Award Certificate