Taking Care of Your Skin Goes Beyond Products
Our skin's health depends on more than just the skincare products we use. In fact, around 70% of our skin's condition is influenced by our diet and lifestyle choices, leaving only 30% to be impacted by the topical treatments we apply. In our ever-expanding understanding of how stress affects our overall well-being, it's no surprise that it can also wreak havoc on our complexion.
As part of my holistic, long-term approach to skincare, I've delved into the intricate connection between stress and skin health. Here, we explore this relationship further and provide some valuable tips for maintaining a vibrant and youthful complexion.
The Science Behind Stress and Your Skin
Elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone produced in response to stress by the adrenal glands, can have profound effects on the skin. Chronic stress, characterised by consistently high cortisol levels, triggers a series of events within the body. One of the most significant consequences is inflammation, a common factor in nearly every skin condition. This inflammation not only worsens existing skin issues but can also incite new ones.
In addition to inflammation, heightened cortisol levels can break down collagen in the skin, disrupt the skin's protective barrier, stimulate sebaceous (oil) glands, and influence melanin production.
Skin Conditions Linked to Stress
It's evident that stress plays a pivotal role in how our entire body functions, but how does it specifically affect our skin? Let's delve into the skin conditions that often emerge or worsen due to heightened stress and anxiety:
Acne: Stress can lead to increased oil production in the skin by releasing hormones like cortisol. Excess oil, combined with dead skin cells and bacteria, clogs pores, resulting in breakouts and acne flare-ups.
Dry Skin: High cortisol levels reduce lipid production and alter the skin's pH, disrupting its natural moisture balance. This manifests as tightness, dry patches, redness, and flakiness.
Dull Skin: Stress can cause capillaries to constrict, reducing blood flow near the skin's surface, leading to dull, gray-toned skin.
Rashes: Stress-induced rashes, including itchy hives, are visible signs of the body's heightened stress response.
Premature Aging: Cortisol can impair collagen synthesis, resulting in sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Hyperpigmentation: Cortisol's influence on melanin production can lead to issues such as melasma or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), resulting in dark spots or patches.
Eczema: Stress can exacerbate symptoms of eczema, characterized by red, itchy, inflamed patches.
Psoriasis: Stress can trigger or worsen symptoms of psoriasis, marked by red, scaly patches of skin.
External Stress-Induced Skin Problems
Emotional stress isn't the sole cause of skin aggravation; external stressors, like an aggressive skincare routine, can have similar effects.
Exfoliation, for instance, is a common source of skin stress. Some individuals tend to overdo it, leading to the removal of the skin's top layer. A gentle approach, like using a face cloth with your cleanser or a gentle exfoliant balm or mask, is sufficient. An extensive routine with multiple exfoliating products is excessive for all skin types and can cause to skin barrier damage.
Picking at skin conditions like breakouts can also exacerbate inflammation, irritation, and infection, potentially leading to scarring and hyperpigmentation. It's crucial to treat reactive skin promptly to prevent further damage to the protective barrier.
How to Combat Stress-Prone Skin
Aside from adopting a gentle skincare routine tailored for sensitive and reactive skin, here are six additional ways to address stressed skin:
Non-Invasive Regimen: Avoid harsh treatments like peels and microneedling, and limit the use of aggressive cleansers and exfoliants at home.
Simplify Your Routine: Reduce the number of skincare products in your collection, focusing on a cleanser, toner, two serums, and a comforting cream. Consider incorporating a serum with hyaluronic acid, like our Soothing Serum, to keep stressed skin hydrated.
Holistic Lifestyle Practices: Prioritise self-care by balancing work and play, maintaining a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise to benefit your mental health. Adequate sleep is essential for reducing inflammation and stress levels, with the added benefit of enhancing the skin's regeneration during sleep.
Promote Circulation: Good blood circulation is vital for healthy skin as it delivers oxygen and nutrients to the surface. Simple face massages can stimulate muscles and skin.
Calm Inflammation: Cold therapy can reduce redness and inflammation while providing relief from discomfort associated with irritated and stressed skin. Our Face Mask, cooled in the fridge and our Glow Serum, offers soothing relief.
Rebuild the Skin Barrier: Apply a vitamin-rich cream in the evening to calm and nourish compromised skin. Our Everyday Day Cream restores hydration, prevent water loss, and reduce reactivity. Applying it over Aura Essence provides ultimately hydration and rejuvenation.
From acne to eczema, it's evident that chronic stress can worsen existing skin conditions and trigger new ones. However, the road to healthy skin isn't paved with quick fixes; it requires intention, patience, and a holistic lifestyle. NAYA's skincare line is designed to adapt to your skin's unique needs, compensating for external factors like climate and stress while optimising hydration and restoring the skin's barrier. Explore our collection of essential products, curated kits, and accessories to support your skin's vitality and radiance.