Is stress messing with your skin?
Lots of skin problems have one thing in common – they’re brought on by adrenaline and an excess of cortisol in your body, a hormone that spikes in times of stress.
Read on for five of the most common signs that your skin is feeling the heat from too much stress-induced cortisol…
1. Dreaded Dryness
Cortisol can cause real upset to your skin’s barrier function. This protective layer is super important because it helps reduce moisture loss while simultaneously acting like a shield to stop toxins, allergens and pollutants from literally ‘getting under your skin’ and causing dryness and irritation.
Stress weakens and thins your skin’s barrier function, inviting dryness and dehydration over for a party.
The Skincare Fix: Apply a gentle moisturiser after every cleanse – we recommend Imperial Moisturiser in the daytime and Night Elixir before bed. Follow with Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil for a really intense hit of nourishing botanicals and plant oils.
2. Who Ordered Dark Circles?
The skin around your eyes is much thinner than the rest of your face.
FACT: Stress causes the fragile blood vessels under your eyes to expand - sometimes even tear or split. This blood then leaks out under your skin where it oxidises, turns a dark, purple colour and delivers eye bags the size of a small country.
The Skincare Fix: Imperial Eye Gel helps to strengthen, hydrate and reduce dark circles and puffiness. Dab a small amount around your orbital bones after cleansing and toning, morning and night. And try keeping it in the fridge for an extra blast of coldness to alleviate swelling and help shrink dilated capillaries.
Need to know: Cortisol inhibits the skin’s natural production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which can thin your skin even further, making it even more fragile and speeding up visible of ageing.
3. Breakouts Not Budging
While some people feel the wrath of dry skin during times of stress, others will go in the complete opposite direction. Cue excess oil and acne breakouts. All down to cortisol which stimulates sebum production, increases testosterone levels and messes up your skin’s pH. BUT do not rush to strip off excess oil [we'll come to this shortly].
FACT: An overrun of cortisol unbalances your skin’s microbiome which exists to maintain healthy skin by encouraging ‘good’ bacteria and killing off the ‘bad’ bacteria that’s often associated with acne.
The Skincare Fix: Keeping your skin clean is vital, but you must cleanse gently otherwise you will upset your skin and make excess oil worse, add in dry patches too. Wash your face with Crystal Cleanser morning, night and always after exercising. Moisturise with lightweight formulations that hydrate your skin without clogging your pores. Try Organic Hydration Gel which is a real goodie when breakouts strike.
Need to know: Cortisol is known to generate an inflammatory reaction in the body which is seriously bad news if you suffer with ongoing skin conditions like eczema, rosacea or psoriasis. But even if you don’t, stress still causes major upset to your skin’s barrier function which allows toxins and allergens a free rein to irritate your skin.
4. Angry, Sensitised Skin
Irritation can take on many forms but usually involves itchy skin, redness, swelling and/or flaky skin. All made worse by a spike in cortisol.
The Skincare Fix: First up, hold off with exfoliation and pare down your active skincare formulations (retinol, glycolic acid and the like) for a while to avoid further irritation. Instead, stick with a basic routine and simple ingredients that care for your skin and won’t upset your barrier function more than necessary.
Always remember: Cleanse gently with lukewarm (never hot) water and avoid unnecessary chemicals like parabens and sulphates. Great news, because every single HIGHBORN is free from all nasties!
5. Lacklustre And Lifeless
Dull skin is one of those annoying conditions that’s not particularly quantifiable. But if you know… you know.
Dullness is usually caused by a lack of hydration in your skin which leads to poor, sluggish cellular turnover and slow healing. And one of the many things that increases water loss and reduces your skin’s ability to rejuvenate? Yes, you guessed it, stress and its evil sidekick, cortisol.
The Skincare Fix: Gentle exfoliation is a great way to return your skin to its former glowing glory. It immediately improves your circulation and helps eliminate dull, dead skin cells from hanging around at the surface of your skin. Our Natural Luminosity Scrub is suitable for everyday use, but if your skin is feeling a tad delicate, begin exfoliating two or three times a week then gradually build up.
Quick Fix: Sit back for ten minutes with our Natural Element Clay Mask to detox and rejuvenate your skin. Then give yourself and instant complexion-enhancing boost with Organic Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 25. Add a little bronzer, some Organic Lip Gloss and we guarantee your mood will be boosted too!
Before you go, stress is exhausting and according to the Mental Health Foundation, 74 percent of adults feel overwhelmingly stressed at some point during any given year. If you are feeling overwhelmed, or just not quite yourself at the moment, please chat to your GP or another health professional to help get you fighting fit again.