Not a day goes by without us hearing the word stress from either ourselves (guilty!) or from our friends and family. Alas, it is just an affliction of, well, life. Before we get too philosophical, let’s take a step back. Apart from experiencing brain fog and anxiety and immense levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – coursing through our systems, this pesky ailment also shows up on our skin.
When you live in fight or flight mode, all of your blood supply and energy goes in preserving and maintaining what your brain deems as essential organs. This includes the heart, lungs and your brain and a few other internal organs which are necessary to keep you alive and breathing. Skin is somewhat of an afterthought for your body at this point, meaning decreased blood flow and oxygen, leading to skin that looks stressed. Stress also causes collagen to break down, causing premature signs of ageing. Plus, if you’re stressed, you’re probably not eating right and working a million hours, which could be more reasons for your skin not looking its best.
Here are a few signs to watch out for when your skin is stressed out
Your body will let you know it’s under stress if you know what to look for - so that you can take the appropriate measures to reduce it. And we don’t just mean stocking up on skincare products – the change has to start with basic things, and then introduce new products, one at a time. No matter if it's dancing it out, indulging in aromatherapy, taking time out for skincare or practising meditating, it all starts with knowing what signs to look for.
Your skin is irritated
Have you noticed that when you’re on the edge, you get more irritated, more often? Your skin too! When you’re stressed, your body releases a chemical called histamine which is linked to allergic reactions like itchiness, inflammation and redness. You might notice your skin getting redder or drier than usual if you’re really stressed.
You have breakouts
Adult acne is real and CAN hurt you! Stress is intrinsically connected to hormonal fluctuations in your body and can make your skin react differently than usual. This kind of acne usually shows up around your chin and mouth area.
You notice accentuated fine lines
If you’re suddenly noticing fine lines and wrinkles that weren’t really there before, thank stress. It’s true! Stress does make you age faster. Cortisol breaks down collagen and elastin in your skin, making it sag faster and lose its youthfulness. The good news? These signs can be reversed if managed in time!
Your skin looks dull and tired
This needs no more introduction. After all, we all have had days when we wake up looking and feeling dull as hell. When stressed, the skin heals slower and doesn’t renew itself as quickly, as usual, leading to an accumulation of dead skin cells.
Your skin is dry and dehydrated
The outer layer of the skin is called the skin barrier and protects you from bacteria and pollutants. Stress also impairs your skin barrier function, leading to water loss, making your skin dull and dehydrated.
How to care for your skin when stressed
With Covid on our heads, stress is inevitable. Here are a few quick tips that’ll help your skin look and feel better as you work on reducing your internal stress.
Your skin is probably going through a lot at the moment (as are you, probably), so give it some love and nourishment. Steer clear of harsh, stripping cleansers and acids and give it some TLC with a hydrating cleanser. Opt for the Mon Cherry Dirt Dissolving Cleansing Balm, a luxuriously creamy oil-based cleanser that contains hydrating moringa oil and acne-fighting salicylic acid to give you a thorough yet gentle cleanse.
One of the most important things you can do for your body – and your skin, is to hydrate. As we know, our bodies are 70% water, so hydration is non-negotiable. This will also combat the dehydration that shows up on your skin. Give your skin some topical hydration too by layering on a hydrating essence like the Mama Cica Intense Oil Control Essence which contains hydrating cica and hyaluronic acid which intensely hydrate the skin. Just pat it into your skin after cleansing until absorbed.
If your skin is inflamed and red, the best way to combat it is by cooling your skin down. The easiest way to do so is to settle down with a hydrating and cooling sheet mask, like the Mon Cherry Sheet Mask For Bright And Clear Skin. Just pop it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before application! For hydration on the go, opt for a refreshing face mist. Our favourite is the Mama Cica Rejuvenating Face Mist that instantly rejuvenates dull, drab skin.
The best way to combat stress is to get some quality shut-eye. When you sleep, your body has a chance to rejuvenate and destress, so give your skin some love with a nourishing overnight mask, too! Try the super light Mama Cica Oil Control Overnight Mask which clarifies the skin from deep within so you wake up with hydrated, plump skin.
Like we know, our skin’s cell regeneration ability slows down with stress, which leads to dead skin cell build-up. Exfoliating twice a week can help compensate for this deficit and let your skin’s natural glow shine through. It’ll also correct skin unevenness and help fade any acne scars and spots. For gentle exfoliation, opt for the Mama Cica Instabright Peel Pads which come soaked in glycolic acid and papaya extracts which help slough away dead skin cells.
Now that you know what to look for and how to treat the signs of stress on your skin, go ahead and take a midday nap and unwind, ASAP!
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