The Peace Makers
When stress spikes, so do skin issues. Keep calm with the latest slew of stress-reliving products that guarantee serious skin salvation says Charlotte Rocher.
In today’s constantly connected, multi-tasking society, setting life on autopilot is an everyday occurrence.
Seldom do we take time to pause; busy lives lead to bad habits and with a recent study by the American Academy of Dermatology linking factors that affect our emotional well being – such as stress, depression and anxiety – to an increase in skin, hair and nail problems, never has it been more important to acknowledge our need to stop, breathe and give our skin a healthy dose of TLC.
“Stress has a direct physiologic effect on the skin and can cause it to become more sensitive or reactive,” says Dr Rachael Eckel, Cosmetic Dermatologist . “I’d say the majority of my patients are presenting stress-related skin problems, pimples that appear out of nowhere, redness, brittle nails and parched skin are just some of the few imperfections I see on their complexions”.
During stressful times, the most challenging task is sticking to a daily skin care regimen. Choose one that is minimalistic but that will fight hard against the effects of stress.
So whats going on in your stressed out epidermis?
“On a microsophic level stress causes a surge in pro-inflammatory hormones such as cortisol. High cortisol levels have been shown in studies to cause the face to appear older”, Eckel explains. “When present, cortisol suppresses our immune response which leads to increased collagen degradation in the skin”.
But don’t despair just yet, the good news is that you can do something about it with BWB’s steps to stress-proof your skin.
“During stressful times, the most challenging task is sticking to a daily skin care regimen. Choose one that is minimalistic but that will fight hard against the effects of stress”, advises Dr Rachael Eckel.
The Problem: Dryness
Stress can impair the skin’s barrier function and in turn dehydrate your skin. This heightens sensitivity as allergens and irritants are allowed to penetrate the epidermis.
The Solution: Look for hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products; their lower pH will prevent further dryness and inflammation, try Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Nourishing Moisturizer (http://www.perriconemd.com).
And steer clear of hot water when cleansing, opting for lukewarm over scorching can prevent the stripping of essential skin oils.
The Problem: Pesky Fine Lines
Cortisol can actually trigger elevated levels of blood sugar which – via a process called glycation – damages collagen and elastin, your essential protein anti-agers that keep skin supple and smooth.
The Solution: “Invest in a serum that contains key antioxidants and DNA-repair enzymes” suggests Eckel, “these will nullify oxidative stress and mend any damaged DNA”.
Try ZO Skin Health Sun Smart which has added sunscreen, a must for protection against UV radiation (http://zoskinhealth.com).
The Problem: Blemishs & Breakouts
The increased blood flow that occurs when you’re under stress can cause the capillaries to become over active, triggering an unsightly flush and breakouts.
The Solution: A daily hit of topical anti-Inflammatories can ease redness – look for products which contain liquorice root extract which has a real calming effect on the skin, try Burt’s Bees Radiance Serum (www.burtsbees.com). And don’t forget to double cleanse; washing the face twice daily for 40-60 seconds removes any sebum and pollutants.