Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stressed? What It's Doing To Your Skin, And What To Do About It

I've been seeing A LOT of stressed out clients this last month, so this post seemed appropriate.
The effects of stress on our skin are scientifically proven and can manifest in a variety of different ways. The cascade of hormones that release when we're under stress create real physiological changes and affect the whole body, including the skin. Believe it or not, the effects of stress on the skin are second only to the sun in regards to aging.
Some of the more common signs of stressed skin are:
  • decreased barrier function, leading to dry irritated skin
  • increased sensitivity or redness
  • increased breakouts in acne-prone skin (stress hormones won't cause breakouts, but do contribute to the conditions where they thrive)
  • slower healing time, breakouts last longer
  • rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis flares
Now let's add some of the other side-effects of stress: lack of sleep and exercise, poor diet and hydration, and (what?) not adhering to your skin care routine, and the effects are only compounded.

Before I stress you out even more.... here's what to do about it.
  • The hardest one goes first. Hydrate, get some rest and stick to your skin care routine. I tell my clients this a lot: there is no rule that says you have to wash your face moments before bed. If you're in for the night, wash up and use your products early. Better to do it 2 hours before retiring than not at all!
  • Antioxidants/Sunscreen are a stressed skin's best friend. The world we live in provides a solid daily assault in the form of free-radical damage. Free your skin up from fighting the inflammation and damage caused by UV and pollution with a daily dose of these products. Allow your skin's resources to focus on something else. My go-to for all skin types - Antioxidant Defense Complex.
  • Protect that barrier. When the barrier isn't functioning properly, the skin cannot retain vital moisture, and keep outside bacteria and irritants from penetrating the skin. Keeping inflammation down is key. Calming Bio-Lipid Repair Creme or Fluid, or Rapid Repair are good choices.
  • See your doctor. Flares of medically diagnosed conditions warrant a check-in with your dermatologist to see if your treatment plan needs to be modified to get you through a rough patch (pun intended).
Last but not least... come see me! A little self-care and a tweak of your home care routine can get your skin back on track and glowing in time for the new year.