Is anyone feeling a bit squeezed lately? Our pace of life in the 21st century is incredibly fast, between pressure to work harder and for longer to the timeline in which we are expected to achieve milestones. In a world where we are never uncontactable… what befalls our skin?!
Stressed skin is an interesting one in that everyone’s skin reacts to stress in different ways. I, personally, am prone to stress breakouts of particularly inflamed, sore Franks (aka angry spots). Some find they will see puffiness around their eyes, that their fine lines and wrinkles appear more pronounced, that their skin has suddenly been sapped of all moisture or that they are looking much duller and less radiant than usual.
How do we deal with this? Well, naturally, we reduce stress. Ditch your partner, bin the kids and go to the Bahamas. What we really do is reduce stress wherever possible and provide our skin with what it needs to tackle the effects of stress.
Antioxidants assist our skin in defending itself from our environment – smoking, stress, sun and more. Yonka’s Booster Defense+ is packed with soothing horse chestnut, vitamin B5 and raspberry as well as vitamin C for its antioxidant capabilities and magnesium which regulates cortisol, the stress hormone. The benefit of a booster is that you can keep it around and add it in to your usual serum when you are going through a time of stress.
Stressed skin is usually inflamed skin – for some, it is angry spots, for others, it’s redness, flaking or dryness. My go-to for bringing down inflammation is the IMAGE Ormedic range. If my skin is in desperate need of something gentle that will soothe it and hydrate it, I use the IMAGE Ormedic Balancing Facial Cleanser. Aloe leaf extract, green tea extract, chamomile extract and oat extract come together to give the skin the equivalent of a back rub.
Tools to improve lymphatic drainage
Puffiness anywhere in the face and in the under-eye area (periorbital area, for the nerdiest of you) is most commonly associated with lymphatic drainage. Cortisol, the stress hormone, impacts our lymphatic system so looking after this will help to bring down stress-related puffiness.
There are two methods that I go for when it comes to lymphatic drainage and its impact on the skin: jade rolling and manual massage. You can get a jade roller or a jade stone online and in health food stores. The concept of jade stone is from Chinese medicine – jade is supposed to bring energy into one’s life and it certainly can bring it into one’s skin.
When you are doing a manual facial massage or rolling with a jade stone, the important part is to work outwards from the centre of the face. My method of manual massage is manipulating the muscle gently with the flat part of the knuckle in a piano-playing fashion. Both jade rolling and manual massage kick-start the lymphatic system so that you can wave goodbye to puffiness.
If stress leads to congested skin for you, have a spot treatment or pore-clearing cleanser on hand for stressful periods. I swear by Acne Out Lotion which is a spot treatment that contains no acids – it’s a secret formula but it truly zaps spots, just take care to apply it directly to spots and not the surrounding area.
In terms of your pore-clearing cleanser, you are looking for a cleanser that contains salicylic acid – there are many on the market, containing different degrees of the exfoliating acid and different combinations of ingredients depending on what you are looking for. Salicylic is so fabulous for congestion due to the fact that it penetrates into the pore to dissolve dead skin cells, plugs of sebum and debris, stopping spots at the root.
Taking care of yourself
Never forget that you are a hooman and it is normal and okay to be vulnerable and overwhelmed from time to time. Take your “me time” and do self-care however you like to do it: walk on the beach, read a book (*ahem* you can get The Skin Nerd from Eason, Dubray, Amazon & other retailers), tuck yourself in and binge on Neighbours or apply a face mask.
On next week’s column, I will go into “Self-care Skincare”, featuring face and body products to use when you’re treating yourself and trying to relax… because you deserve it.