It’s bad enough when life gets hard and you can’t seem to catch a break. But then the effects of stress begin to show up on your complexion, and that’s the pits. How can you help your skin destress? Start by making time for self-care all year round.
What stress does to your skin
The body produces high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in times of stress. When you are anxious about a big presentation, busy planning a wedding, or firefighting during a medical crisis, your cortisol levels are bound to go up.
Ever wondered why the appearance and texture of your skin deteriorate when you’re having a hard time? High levels of cortisol can wreak havoc on the complexion. Dryness, dullness, redness, increased skin sensitivity, and prolonged acne flares are all associated with stress. That is why it is important to destress your skin.
Lower your stress for healthier skin
When life pressures start taking a toll on your complexion, you will need to destress your skin. Here are 10 ways to do it.
1. Catch up on beauty sleep.
Does worry have you tossing and turning all night? Take steps to improve sleep
quality: use light-blocking curtains, keep a consistent bedtime, and avoid doom-scrolling before bed. Good-quality sleep reduces stress, improves focus, and gives the skin cells time for repair and rejuvenation.
2. Don’t skip your morning walk.
Exercise pushes up the heart rate, ensuring more oxygen is pumped throughout the body and bringing an instant glow. Pressed for time? Work activity into your daily schedule: take the stairs instead of the lift, walk while speaking on the phone, or try a calming 10-minute yoga routine to switch off your fight-or-flight response.
(Try these 5 yoga poses for acne care.)
3. Watch what you’re eating.
Skipping meals or snacking on biscuits is a bad idea. What your tired skin needs is more nutrients—think fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy fats. Short on time for a sit-down meal? Hack it by drinking smoothies or snacking on fruit, nuts, and seeds.
(Explore how gut health affects your skin.)
4. Water is your best friend.
If you hardly drink water, it’s time to make a change. Set reminders on your phone and place a glass of water on your desk. Not drinking enough causes the skin cells to get dehydrated, which disrupts their normal function and may lead to dry skin or acne.
5. Wash the day’s stresses away.
Few things are as relaxing as a warm bath coupled with aromatherapy. Body washes with soothing fragrances and essential oils like eucalyptus and ylang-ylang could calm your frazzled nerves. But if you’re prone to facial or body acne, use non-comedogenic formulas that won’t aggravate the issue.
6. Soothe your senses with a massage.
Better blood circulation, removal of dead skin cells, and moisturized skin are just some of the benefits of a good massage. A body massage could help relax your strained and tired muscles. You could also pick up some facial massage techniques to relieve sinus pressure and minimise puffy eyes.
7. Make time for happy things.
Even as you meet the obligations of everyday life, block some time for fun activities. Schedule quality time with family and friends, join a dance class, create art, tend to your garden… Finding time for the things you enjoy is a mood booster and an instant pick-me-up for your skin.
8. Take a much-deserved break.
When you’re running on fumes, it helps to hit the pause button. Consider taking a short holiday, even if it’s just to get away for the weekend and switch off your phone. If you can, take yourself anywhere with greenery—like a forest or even a park. Being out in nature is believed to help with stress relief.
9. Simplify your skincare routine.
Make your life easier by streamlining your regimen: just cleanse, tone, repair, and moisturise twice a day. All you need is a few well-selected products. For example, if you’re prone to stress acne, adding Clearica Anti-Acne Cleanser and Clearica Anti-Acne Cream to your regimen could be an easy fix.
10. Know (and avoid) your skin stress triggers.
Although mental stress is a common culprit, watch out for other kinds of stress as well. For example, recent illness and heavy medication could take a toll on your skin, as could environmental stressors like too much sun, pollution, and heat. Consider maintaining a stress journal to identify if there’s a pattern to your skin concerns.
If your skin is not looking its best, consider checking your stress levels. Chronic stress is part and parcel of modern life, but effective lifestyle changes can make all the difference to your body, mind, and complexion.
Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.