The holidays can be a stressful time for many reasons, don’t let your skincare be another one of them. Did you know that increased stress can cause your skin to break out? The classic example is stress and acne: how many times can you remember your skin breaking out during the most inconvenient moments such as important events when you were a teenager? The same can happen as an adult if you have chronic stress. Chronic stress leads to dysregulation of our inflammatory and immune responses and this leads to health problems.
There is a strong connection between stress and different types of skin conditions such as dry patches, itching, skin bumps and eczema. Our skin is our biggest organ, and it is our protection against the world. It works like a barrier against potential attacks.
Because the skin is constantly exposed to the outside world, it is more susceptible to environmental stressors than any other organ, and can produce stress hormones in response to them. Psychological stress can also disrupt the epidermal barrier — the top of layer of the skin that locks in moisture and protects us from harmful microbes — and prolong its repair, according to clinical studies in healthy people. An intact epidermal barrier is essential for healthy skin; when disrupted, it can lead to irritated skin, as well as chronic skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, or wounds.
How to treat & manage stress related skin conditions:
In order to put an end to skin conditions caused by stress, the first thing you need to do is of course learn to de-stress, but how do you do that? Trying to take a stand in your daily life and remove stress factors is step 1, but we can help our skin by having solid skincare practices! There is evidence that shows that simply having a solid daily skincare routine can reduce stress related skin conditions.
How to structure your stress-free skincare routine:
A proper routine will consist of these three parts:
- Cleansing: The cornerstone of any good skincare routine is cleansing. If you don’t regularly clean your skin or do not always remove your makeup you are doing your skin a disservice. A good cleanser gently removes excess sebum, dirt and makeup and leaves your skin feeling clean and fresh.
- Exfoliating: With a proper exfoliating routine for your face and body, you can safely and effectively remove the layer of dead skin and restore your healthy, vibrant glow. Exfoliating may help allow moisturizers and serums to better penetrate the skin and help your foundation glide on smoothly instead of sitting atop flaky skin.
- Moisturizing (with SPF): No matter your skin type, just about every dermatologist recommends getting a moisturizer with a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 — year-round, in any weather.
When to form this routine?
As a good rule of thumb, you want to use your most powerful, potent ingredients at night when your skin is rebuilding itself. You especially want to hold off on using exfoliants like AHAs, BHAs or any moisturizer with retinols in the morning. These products can cause irritation because the exfoliating bring new skin to the surface, making you more sensitive to rays of the sun and heat. SPF on the other hand, only needs to worn during the day.