Skin feeling a bit stressed out? You may be suffering from isolation skin. Challenging times and lockdown measures can wreak havoc on your skin. Increased stress, lack of sleep, diet changes, increased screen time or indoors time in dry and stuffy rooms… our disrupted routines can trigger skin concerns, as anyone struggling with breakouts or flare-ups knows only too well.
Our skin is the main barrier between the outside world and the living cells and tissues inside our bodies. When our stress levels go out of kilter, is it any wonder that the epidermis is one of the first places to be affected?
Let’s look into some high-performance ingredients and useful tips that will help protect the skin and keep you looking at your best even when the heat is on. As part of my research and the clinical trialling of our vegan and organic brand Nourish London I have seen the results first hand.
Best natural skincare ingredients to combat stress effects
As we become stressed, it causes inflammation and our body releases stress hormones such as cortisol. This in turn results in the skin becoming more sensitive with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea flaring up. Anti-irritants and anti-inflammatory natural actives such as Ginger, Bisabolol and Lavender are excellent at calming redness and flare-ups, soothing skin inflammation and restoring the skin’s natural balance for a healthy complexion. Plus, the calming Lavender scent is ideal to relax the mind as it works as an anxiolytic (a natural anxiety reliever).
The rise in cortisol production can also lead to much-dreaded breakouts and acne arising due to increased oil release on the skin. When the skin is caught in this process, it often produces more oil which in turn leads to more breakouts. Supplementing the skin with topical B vitamins can help to regulate the excess oil.
Free radicals are produced in the skin in response to both external and internal stress. The triggers for their production are many and varied throughout the course of the day. One of the best ways to combat the effects of free radicals is to top up on topical antioxidants in the skin. Oil-soluble Vitamin C is particularly helpful at protecting the skins proteins and ensuring the production of healthy collagen. We strongly recommend applying a Vitamin C-rich oil at night to create a reservoir of antioxidant protection to help combat the stresses of the day to come.
Strikingly, Vitamin C is 30 times more effective to the skin when applied topically than when taken internally.
Our Argan Skin Rescue provides the necessary Vitamin C and contains potent anti-inflammatory Ginger extract to help soothe the damage caused by the free radicals released in response to stress.
More vital roles are played by the minerals Copper, Zinc and Magnesium in helping the skin to protect itself the damaging effects of stress.
Providing the skin with a “probiotically digested” version of these vital minerals can help to accelerate the speed at which the skin repairs. Magnesium in particular helps to increase the levels of neurotransmitter GABA, which helps to encourage relaxation and aid restful sleep. Low magnesium levels are associated with heightened stress and anxiety.
This is why magnesium is known to bring about a sense of calm and relaxation before bedtime. Our Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask which incorporates Lavender oil has been formulated to encourage good sleep and boost overnight skin repair.
Change your routine
Practise good sleep hygiene
On the same topic, good night’s sleep is vital for beating the havoc that stress causes on the skin.
Practising good sleep hygiene is the best step one can take to improve resilience to stress.
Three key golden rules of sleep hygiene:
- Avoid any caffeine, alcohol or rich large meals a few hours before bedtime.
- Remove all gadgets from the bedroom and end screen time one hour before bedtime.
- Create a calm and peaceful space to sleep in. A calming pillow spray will help to bring about ease.
Sleep is where we recharge, where our bodies repair. Chronic lack of sleep causes premature ageing of the skin, dark circles around the eye and a sallow tone to skin. A good night’s sleep is absolutely vital to bust the negative effects of stress.
As a day-to-day practice, Mindfulness has been shown to really help to reduce anxiety and stress. Introducing mindfulness into your skin care regime can not only help reduce stress but it can improve the skin’s health. The use of a Jade Roller as part of the night-time cleansing ritual is hugely beneficial to the skin. The Jade helps to cool the skin thereby reducing localised inflammation and the meditative and mindful routine of using the roller helps to bring about a sense of calm. The gentle pressure helps to stimulate circulation, lymphatic drainage and leave the facial muscles more toned.
Another way to help wind down is to use a sleep or mindfulness app, featuring meditation guidance, fitness sessions, or sleep assistance such as podcasts, sleep stories and relaxing and soothing soundscapes. Our own team’s approved ones are Headspace, Insight Timer, Calm & Petit Bambou.
Do you have more stress-busting tips? Share them with us on social media: @nourishskinrange