Stress doesn’t just get in the way of a good night’s sleep, it can also mess with our skin.
When we’re stressed our body produces higher levels of the hormone cortisol. If the body produces enough of it, it can throw our whole system out of balance and leave us vulnerable to breakouts and skin upsets such as eczema and rosacea.
Our body is designed to react to stressful situations but only in short bursts. It’s the basis of the flight or fight reaction that make us hyper alert and able to cope with external danger. That’s a good thing, but what isn’t healthy is the increasingly prevalent chronic type of stress that is sustained over a prolonged period of time. It can lead to high blood pressure and can impair skin’s ability to repair itself.
When skin can’t rebuild new cells properly it becomes susceptible to damage and more sensitive to flare ups. And upset skin makes us self-conscious and that stresses us out even more. We call it ‘The Stressed Out Skin Spiral’. Here’s what you can do about it…
Five things that can help stressed out skin
1. Take time to unwind
Tackle the root cause by having some coping mechanisms to handle stress. Meditation is a great life skill which can not only help you in the moment but also become part of your nightly wind down routine. Aromatherapy, relaxing music, a walk in nature – whatever helps your mind relax and relieves the pressure for a while is worth investing in. Don’t sit and suffer in silence. Talk to a friend and consider seeking out expert help if there’s something in your life that is stressing you out so much it is starting to impact on your health and your sleep.
2. Simplify your skincare routine
Be extra vigilant about what you put on your skin. Some ingredients commonly used in beauty and body care products have a bit of a track record when it comes to irritating sensitive skin (check out this list from huffingtonpost.com of ten of the commonest ones). But that said, we can all be sensitive to different things – including some natural ingredients. Do a patch test when you use new products and have a little collection of tried and tested products you know don’t cause problems for your skin, for use for days when you skin feels extra vulnerable.
3. Don’t over clean your skin
Gently does it when it comes to cleaning. Avoid harsh soaps and astringent toners which can strip skin of it’s natural oils and leave the top layer exposed. Consider sidestepping the exfoliators for a week or two until skin settles (including products with chemical exfoliants such as glycolic acid, AHA’s, BHA’s and fruit acids). Exfoliating little and often is best for your skin to help remove the dead top layers without damaging the new cell layers below.
4. Nourish and calm
Support skin’s repair process by giving it night-time nutrients via a serum or face oil. It may feel counterintuitive to put oil on skin that feels a little oily already but if fact when our skin becomes greasy it’s because our skin’s natural oil production is working overtime to produce the sebum it needs to stay intact. Treating it with nutrient rich natural oils allow this internal process to settle down to normal levels so the greasiness subsides.
Try: One of the heroes of our CALM After Dark Face Oil is jasmine oil. As well as being relaxing for the mind, jasmine contains natural active ingredients which help to fight harmful bacteria, reduce inflammation and speed up healing. Of our three night-time face oils, the CALM blend is our recommendation to help rebalance upset skin. (Find out more about the powers of Jasmine Oil and how it can help your skin and your sleep in this post by natural health & wellness expert Dr Josh Axe)
5. Invest in your beauty sleep
Skin cells repair themselves overnight so getting a good night’s rest is extra important when you skin is unsettled. Make time to create a wind down routine that helps you get in to the right frame of mind for sleep. Have our CALM After Dark Balm by your bedside and apply to pulse points when you need a little something extra to help quieten your mind once your’ve switched the lights out.
Read more tips to help you break the Stress: Sleep Cycle