As more and more of us face increasing challenges and demands at work and at home, experiencing stress on a regular basis is inevitable.
Stress and chronic stress messes up with our mind and body in many ways — from sleepless nights to appetite changes, mood swings, and energy level fluctuations. This can seriously impact our skin (including scalp and nails), weather exacerbating existing skin conditions, or causing new ones.
What happens when we get 'stressed'?
When we feel stressed, our nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. The heart beats faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and the senses become sharper.
Cortisol's task is to reduce a general state of inflammation that affects the entire body, from the inside to the outside. But too much unnecessary cortisol is never beneficial.
The skin, the largest organ in our body, is one of the first to show signs of stress.
What are the 8 signs to watch out when the skin is stressed?
1. ACNE AND BLEMISHED SKIN
Adult acne is surprisingly not that uncommon and has many causes; stress is definitively a major trigger.
2. DEHYDRATED SKIN
The skin's own protective barrier can be weakened and the dermis can't retain enough water.
3. IRRITATED SKIN
Irritated skin is a clear sign of inflammation and it can vary from mild redness to itchiness, to tight feeling and even hives.
4. DRY AND OILY PATCHES
Stress causes your body to produce more cortisol, which tells random glands in your skin to make more oil, causing acne and sebum imbalance.
5. LACK OF FIRMNESS, DULL SKIN
As a secondary consequence of dehydration, the skin struggles to renew itself as quickly as it used to be.
6. FLUSHED FACE
This happens because the microcirculation is affected as well as raised blood pressure.
7. DARKER EYE CIRCLES
Caused not only by lack of good sleep but also by dehydration.
8. YOUR SKIN IS OK IN THE MORNING (AFTER A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP) BUT GETS WORSE DURING THE DAY
Our body is programmed to repair itself during REM sleep. When our stress level increases during the day, our body responds with extra production of cortisol, and therefore the skin troubles start again.
Which skincare ingredients should I look for?
1. SOOTHING - look for claiming oils and extracts like Calendula, Apricot, Hazelnut, Chamomile
2. HYDRATING - look for natural humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, propanediol, Aloe vera
3. NOURISHING AND PROTECTIVE - look for emollients like Argan oil, Jojoba, Coconut, and its derivates, Pomegranate, Squalane.
4. REPAIRING - look for Retinol (Vit A) rich oils like Cacay, Rosehip, Sea buckthorn, Tamanu
5. MILDLY ANTI-ACNE AGENTS - Niacinamide, Salicylic acid, licorice extract
6. GENTLE AND VERY LOW DILUTION OF ESSENTIAL OILS - look for max 0.5% dilution. Anti-inflammatory oils: Chamomiles (including Blue Tansy), Lavender, Bergamot, Geranium, Frankincense... Antiseptic and anti-acne oils like Tea Tree, Fragonia, Lemon, Manuka... Balancing oils like Cedarwood, Vetiver...
7. MILD CLEANSERS (SURFACTANTS) - look for Coco glucoside, Lauryl glucoside, Sucrose cocoate
8. BALANCE RESTORING - look for probiotic and fermented ingredients
9. RESURFACING - look for AHAs, BHAs
10. PURIFYING - look for light color clays, zinc oxide
Which skincare ingredients shall I avoid?
1. VITAMIN C
2. GLYCOLIC ACID
3. HARSH ANTI-ACNE MEDICATIONS
4. TOPICAL STEROIDS
5. PEEL OFF MASKS
6. HARSH CLEANSERS (SURFACTANTS) - avoid sodium laurate, sodium cocoate, sodium lauryl sulfate (aka SLS)
7. HARSH AND IRREGULAR EXFOLIANTS
1. USE COLD WATER - NEVER HOT WATER ON THE FACE
2. LESS IS MORE - AVOID LAYERING TOO MANY PRODUCTS
3. DO FACIAL MASSAGE AT HOME TO RELAX YOUR FACIAL MUSCLES, ESPECIALLY RELEASE TENSION AROUND THE JAWS AND NECK - check our fast beauty rituals tutorial here
4. USE AROMATIC FACIAL OILS PROFESSIONALLY FORMULATED - Essential oils lower stress and calm your senses, because they stimulate positive signals in your brain, reducing negative emotions like stress and anxiety. Native Essentials 3 facial oils are not only skin healing serums but powerful Aromatherapy blends formulated as a body-mind synergy.
5. ADD A GUASHA AS MASSAGE TOOL - check out our blog post here
6. SPOT-TREAT BLEMISHES, NOT ALL FACE - you want to avoid upsetting already stressed skin
Native Essentials collection targets specifically stressed skin - check out our bundles by skin type and start healing your skin today.