Top Tips for Soothing Stressed Skin
The Effects of Cortisol
Stress causes the body to make more of the hormone cortisol, and cortisol turns up production of oil in your sebaceous glands, which leads to clogged pores, breakouts and sometimes red, itchy patches on the cheeks and around the nose. If you’re dealing with long term, chronic stress, it can have a really damaging effect on your skin. Along with the pore-clogging effects, too much cortisol also damages your skin's ability to hold on to water, which can make it dehydrated and dull over time. So while you’re producing more oil and getting breakouts, under the surface your skin is thirsty and desperate for hydration. No wonder stress takes such a toll on your looks. So what can you do to counteract the effects of stress and a busy lifestyle?
Skincare for Stressed Skin
Looking after your skin when you’re feeling the strain is vital if you don’t want to reflect all that tension in the mirror. Treat yourself to kind, good quality skincare products, especially products that are free of colourant and fragrance as you don't have to worry that they will irritate your delicate skin any more than it already has been.
Be gentle when you cleanse your face; don’t be tempted to attack the breakouts or oily areas with harsh products to strip the oils away, you’ll only make it worse. When you wash with water, use lukewarm rather than hot to avoid stimulating oil production, and add a layer of soothing, hydrating moisturizer while your skin is damp as damp skin will trap moisture better.
Another effect of high levels of cortisol is raised blood sugar, which damages collagen and elastin. Long term, you may lose some of your skin’s smoothness and plumpness, and when you combine this with the extra muscle tension that’s unavoidable when you get stressed, you start to get prone to wrinkles and lines. Nip these in the bud by investing in skincare products that contain antioxidants to encourage collagen production and keep skin looking and feeling firmer.
It’s not always easy, but if you also learn to manage your stress levels. Take some time out for yourself; enjoy a massage or a facial treatment. Just an hour or so away from it all that’s just for you can really help to destress you. If you still need to justify it, think of it as saving money on medication or prevention from pre-mature aging!
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