Go to the gym for your skin! Exercise increases blood flow to the skin, causing a healthy-looking flush. Both immediately and over time, it has been shown to decrease tension, which can result in healthier skin. Cortisol has many functions in the body. It helps the body use sugar (glucose) and fat for energy metabolism, and it helps the body manage stress. Cortisol levels can be affected by many conditions, such as physical and emotional stress. When you're stressed, cortisol levels rise, and that leads to acne and other skin aggravations.