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How Stress Can Affect Your Skin and What You Can Do To Combat It

It’s incredible to think that how you feel can actually physically affect how you look. As the gorgeous (and frenzied) Cameron Diaz’s Amanda Woods quotes Time magazine in The Holiday — stress directly attacks the white blood cells in your body, causing a chain reaction that can manifest as a more haggard appearance — “And that’s just women, not men.”

Lucky us.

Stress is in abundance right now, as we embark on another year amidst the Covid pandemic. It may not directly affect us, but its constant presence, the looming fear and additional layers of anxiety it can create in every day decisions, can affect your physiology nonetheless.

Our body releases certain chemicals in heightened stressful situations. These higher levels of cortisol can lead to inflammation, which can cause heightened skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and excess oil production that leads to acne and dryness. Stress can also cause dandruff, greying hair, and hair loss altogether. Not to mention “mascne” from clogged pores and chafing due to increased coverage of our faces. The ever-present uncertainty of our time puts pressure on our psyches to cope and adapt, which translate to these less-than-desirable physical outcomes.

So, how to deal with skin-aggravating stress?

Our Top Five Favourite Ways to Deal with Skin Stress

1. Talk it out! There’s a certain logic to: If an internal struggle (stress) is affecting you physically, physically evicting those feelings from your body by talking about them can help lower said stress. Call up a friend — we’re sure they could use a friendly voice, too! — and talk it through.

2. Self-care practices such as meditation and journaling. What’s the worst that can happen? No, really, ask yourself that, then write out your answer and come up with creative solutions. They may not actually ever happen, but even just the act of planning can help alleviate some of your anxiety of the “unknown”. Similarly, meditation is a proven de-stressor. You owe yourself even just ten minutes a day to sit and breathe out the toxicity your body is holding. The long-term effects of just a few minutes a day are worth it.

3. Attention to skincare detail. All of that hand-washing and increased sanitization can strip away your skin’s oils. Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing, and try to slather on that cream while you’re still a little damp to help hold moisture in.

If your face is reacting to all that additional masking, exfoliating 2 - 3 times a week to slough off those dead skin cells is your best bet to keeping pores unclogged. And wash that mask between uses!

4. Practice gratitude. Being present in the moment to accept what you do have – not the travel you’re missing out on or the friends you’re not seeing – can boost your mood immensely. By simply rephrasing a negative situation into what positives it brought into your life can give you a way to cope with rising stress levels. By revising your expectations and how you react can keep you on a more even keel when practiced regularly. Focus on the positive, breathe, repeat.

5. Book a procedure with your favourite aesthetician! Now is the time to indulge in the much-needed self-care you’ve been putting off. Intense Covid protocols are in place to ensure a healthy, safe experience for guests and just think, if your procedure requires a little downtime, it’s not like you’re seeing a ton of people right now anyway! Your skin will thank you for the extra love and care, and you’ll feel refreshed and invigorated — double bonus.

Once you’ve done all the above, get your body moving outdoors for fresh air and natural Vitamin D. Just don’t forget that all-important SPF!

Enjoy your spring & stay safe!

~ Nicola


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