Changes to your skin can be frustrating and hard to understand. Your hormones can have a big impact on your skin - at any age. Of course, everyone’s body and skin will react to stress in different ways, as we all have different genetic makeups, but in part three of our four-part series, we are looking at the impact that hormones can have on your skin when you’re under stress.
When we are stressed our bodies create high levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine. Whether it is acute or chronic stress, your body will still release several stress hormones. Most of us have heard of the “fight or flight” reaction, being the automatic response when you feel threatened. In this case, your body will release hormones into the bloodstream to help increase your ability to react quickly and after you’ve dealt with the short-term stress your hormone levels will return to normal. However, chronic stress means your body is constantly producing higher levels of stress hormones and doesn’t have time to recover, causing long term hormonal imbalances.
Women tend to manifest more physical and emotional symptoms from the effects of stress, resulting in a variety of issues from mood swings to brain fog, skin reactions and much more. Stress hormones make skin more sensitive and reactive because hormones like cortisol tell the sebaceous glands (oil glands) in your skin to make more oil, disrupting the natural balance of your skin's barrier called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is the skin’s way to protect itself from bacteria, environmental pollutants and moisture loss. If the skin’s barrier is compromised it can lead to acne-causing bacteria, rosacea, sensitivity and redness.
What can I do to help my skin?
Keep it simple! Don’t over treat your skin, or overuse products on it. If your acid mantle has been damaged it can take up to two weeks to repair itself and the best thing for it is a low chemical, natural and pH balanced skincare routine.
Balance - Start with a gentle non-foaming Cream Cleanser, such as Prologic's® Cream Cleanser. This contains Lecithin and Vitamin E to support the skin's barrier function, while natural cleansing agents gently cleanse the skin without stripping its natural oils.
Repair – When we see a compromised skin in clinic, a go-to recommendation is Pure Fiji’s Anti-Ageing Booster (Dilo oil). It’s an amazing multi-tasking, cold-pressed organic oil that effectively promotes skin regeneration and healing. Dilo oil is a rare nut extract found only on the islands of Fiji and is an essential product in your natural skincare routine.
Another great way to repair your skin is with topical vitamin C. Vitamin C serums are legendary for a reason, they work! Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals and aids in your skin's natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells. Our top pick is Ultraceuticals ULTRA C10+ Firming Serum. Link to Vitamin C blog here.
Protect – It’s important to use a physical (mineral) sunscreen to protect the top layers of your skin and prevent any further stress and damage. Our must-have is EltaMD UV Elements. This is a 100% physical sunscreen in a tinted, moisturising base. It’s gentle for even the most sensitive skin types, including post-procedure skin and it’s packed with chemical-free actives, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, providing safe but sure sun protection. The mineral-based UV filters work with ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid to protect and hydrate the skin.
Look after yourself and your skin by thinking about what you can do to reduce your stress, as taking practical steps to cut back on stress will aid in reducing the impact that stress hormones can have on your skin. We love and recommend regular exercise, meditation, yoga, getting a good night's sleep. Most importantly though, be kind to yourself, knowing that this is not a normal situation and you're doing the best you can!