3 ways to stop stress ruining your skin
If you’ve ever woken up with a giant pimple on the morning of a big exam, you’ll know exactly what havoc stress can wreak with your skin. Ditto those additional fine lines that seem to creep up when a work deadline is looming. Or, if you’re like me, feeling stressed just makes your skin look dull and rough in texture.
Turns out these woes aren’t just coincidence - and neither are they a figment of your imagination. When we get stressed, the body releases more of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, kicking our cells into inflammation mode, which is what triggers that outbreak of acne or eczema (and which, over time, is also a cause of premature ageing - happy days!).
While eliminating stress altogether might not be possible (but if you figure out how to do it, please drop me a line), there are steps you can take to minimise its impact on your complexion. Here’s where to start…
#1 Eat right
Comfort eating might seem like a good idea when you’re stressed but it’s probably not the way to go (just sayin’). Instead, these 11 foods will help to stabilise your mood, release endorphins and generally make you feel a bit better about life.
This is also the time to avoid skin trigger foods such as spicy curries, which can cause flare-ups in rosacea. Alcohol is also no friend of stressed skin, as it leads to dehydration and triggers its own inflammation response. Plus, it can also cause redness and flushing.
#2 Just breathe
Someone who knows all about this area is US doctor Richard D. Fried, who is both a dermatologist and a clinical psychologist (impressive, right?). His tip for managing that vicious stress-skin cycle is to incorporate general stress-management techniques into your life. At a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology a few years ago, Dr Fried suggested that yoga, meditation, tai chi and even forms of therapy could have a positive flow-on effect for the complexion. Lesson: if it helps calm you down, chances are it will do the same for your dermis.
#3 Get skin smart
Until recently, skin care ingredients have focused mainly on treating the visible symptoms of a stressed-out complexion, such oatmeal to calm itchiness or vitamin C to give a glow when you’re looking tired and dull. Now though, it’s all about going deep and looking at what’s happening at a cellular level.
Yes, inflammation, I’m looking at you.
The body - clever machine that it is - naturally produces a protein that helps calm down inflammation in our cells. Sometimes, though, it can use an extra helping hand (you know, like when you’ve had deadlines for three weeks straight and no time for yoga).
A new discovery from Rutgers University in the US has found that a certain extract from the moringa plant acts as a trigger for the body to produce more of the inflammation-regulating protein. Estée Lauder have popped the extract into their new Revitalizing Supreme+ Cell Power Creme and Wake Up Balm, basically saying “calm your farm” to inflamed skin.
It’s kind of a no-brainer, but calm skin is also more receptive to other active ingredients in the products - like peptides and antioxidants - so it has a double whammy effect. The Balm also has a slightly luminescent finish, so you’ll instantly look brighter, even if you’re not feeling it (#winning).
Have you noticed that stress has an impact on your skin? What do you do about it?
Have you tried any of the products mentioned above?
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