Throughout 2021, our skin has been through a lot. The emotional toll of the pandemic has shown itself in the skin. Many people are noticing acne when they haven’t seen spots in years. Others may be noticed dryer, flakier skin when it used to be smooth and dewy.
It is not just the change of environment that is disrupting our skin. In fact, there is a close link between psychological stress and skin health. What’s more, this can lead to a vicious cycle. Stress can cause skin concerns. When skin concerns affect your self-confidence, they can, in turn, create more stress. So, is your stressed-out skin affecting your skin health?
When the body experiences stress, the brain releases a variety of chemicals. One of the main chemicals during times of stress is cortisol. Cortisol is released during anxiety to help stimulate a primal fight or flight response. This is the body’s way of protecting you in times of danger. However, the brain can’t distinguish between the situations where you need the fight or flight response and the anxiety you may be experiencing from global news, such as the pandemic response.
When cortisol is released in the body, it can increase inflammation, which can negatively impact the skin. Furthermore, cortisol affects the immune system, which means it takes longer for the skin to heal and also reduce the defences of the skin’s natural barrier.
As a result of releasing these stress-related hormones, the skin is more likely to have concerns such as:
Unfortunately, skin concerns and poor skin health can severely impact mental wellbeing. They can cause low mood, anxiety, depression, a lack of confidence and poor self-esteem. All of these emotional and psychological concerns create more stress for the body which can exacerbate skin diseases.
As a result of this cycle, it is important when improving skin health that you consider well-rounded treatments that address specific skin concerns but also protect mental wellbeing too.
It may be the least exciting tip to improve skin health, but there is a reason it always features. Sufficient hydration is crucial for skin health. Water helps flush out toxins in your organs; as skin is your largest organ, this is a big focus for water. Water also serves to carry nutrients throughout your body. If you’re dehydrated, it can be difficult for the body to ensure nutrients reach the skin.
Dehydration can cause a loss of skin elasticity, which can cause fine lines, wrinkles and skin sagging. So, to keep skin looking plump and youthful, hydration is key. As well as making sure you’re drinking enough water, topical hydration can also be important.
A hydrating moisturiser will feature three types of ingredients; occlusive ingredients, which help protect the skin, humectants that help to pull and lock in hydration; and emollients, which can help smooth the skin’s surface.
While high-intensive exercise can increase cortisol levels, mindful exercises such as yoga can help to lower cortisol levels helping to promote a calmer outlook. Gentle, mindful activities activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers stress in the body which can help to reduce the impact of stress on the skin.
Research indicates that those who practise yoga three times a week have lower cortisol levels than similar-aged individuals.
Mindful breathing can also help to lower cortisol levels. Breathing exercises, such as deep belly (diaphragmatic) breathing where you focus on elongated the inhale and exhale can help to reduce cortisol levels after just ten breaths.
In times of stress, self-care is often the first thing that is neglected. Magnesium baths can work wonders on reducing cortisol levels; feel-good aromatherapy can also help to relax or improve your mood. It is important to find the activities that induce positive emotions so that you can keep a handle on stress for the sake of your mental wellbeing and your skin.
Practising self-care with your diet is also important. A diet that features plenty of protein and a balance of good fats and wholefood carbohydrates can help you to feel good from the inside out.
Try to ensure you get at least eight hours of high-quality sleep to give your skin time to heal and repair.
The next step in treating stressed-out skin is to get to know your unique skin condition. Having a customised skincare programme unique to your skin concerns is vital in ensuring you are giving your skin exactly what it needs. At Hans Place, we offer prescription-only Obagi skincare treatments. We tailor each skincare system to suit each client and then monitor the skin to ensure it is working effectively.
From sun damage to pigmentation, fine lines to acne, there is an Obagi skincare system that offers targeted treatment and effective results.
If you are looking for further treatment to help your skin go from stressed-out to revitalised, then treatments such as Profhilo can help to refresh your complexion. Profhilo helps to stimulate the production of elastin and collagen in the skin while also improving skin hydration and reducing the appearance of fine lines and uneven skin tone.
Profhilo serves as a hydrator to the skin as it works to hold water from the body, helping your skin to look plump and dewy.
If stress has caused your skin to look dull or drawn, Profhilo can help remodel the skin for enhanced skin volume, glow, and firmness.
To find out more about Profhilo treatment or to create your tailor-made skincare system, speak to our skin health experts today at Hans Place. Book your free consultation here.