In the final of our four-part series on how stress impacts your skin, we are looking at breakouts, why stress can cause them and the best ways you can treat them. If you are struggling with any breakouts, don’t worry, as they are more common than you might think, and you're not alone!
Our skin craves stability and predictability, which has been impacted by the unpredictability of COVID-19 and the flow-on effects it’s created. Unfortunately, stress can wreak havoc on our skin and the stress hormone, cortisol, can lead to acne flare-ups and breakouts. Stress stimulates the brain to produce a specific set of hormones that prepare the body for the stressful environment, triggering an increase in cortisol, which send skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands into overdrive, slowing down cell turnover, creating the perfect conditions for breakouts.
What can I do to help my skin?
One of the simplest ways you can reduce stress-related breakouts is to develop a skincare routine that soothes the skin, even when you’re under a lot of pressure. Here are our TOP 4 products for combating stress breakouts.
- Pure Fiji’s Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque - Exfoliate your skin naturally with this fruit enzyme masque using highly effective papaya and pineapple enzymes. A natural alternative to a chemical peel, this high-performance masque will effectively and gently remove the build-up of dead skin cells and brighten and even out skin tone.
- Ultraceuticals Clear Spot Treatment - This spot treatment is a powerful benzoyl peroxide-free treatment that visibly improves the appearance of blemishes. The formula combines active exfoliators, antioxidants and soothing agents like Vitamin E to quickly calm flare-ups.
- Environ Vita-Antioxidant AVST Moisturiser 1 - This light moisturising cream contains a variety of antioxidants as well as moisturisers. AVST 1 is an introductory moisturiser in the AVST step-up system that contains the lowest concentration of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps combat free radical damage, improves cell turnover and reduces inflammation in the skin. (Could also recommend environ spot treatment)
- Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Accumax – This is a natural solution for problem skin. Four capsules a day for 14 weeks will have a profound and positive effect on the health of the skin. A patented formula containing vitamins A, C and E with diindolylmethane (DIM) supports detoxification, reducing free radical damage and improving your metabolism.
Lifestyle changes that can also help:
We all can’t take a day off at the moment to de-stress, but the best way to avoid stress-related breakouts is to get into a relaxed state of mind and focus on the things you can control, like lifestyle choices. Here are some suggestions we like around lowering stress levels.
Diet - While there is no one miracle food that will give you great skin, try to avoid foods with a high glycemic index like boxed cereals, white bread, rice and chocolate, as these cause an inflammatory response in your skin. Dehydration can also cause the skin to break out. Not drinking enough water or drinking too many cups of coffee, tea or sugary beverages, will dehydrate your skin - try replacing one of your hot drinks with hot lemon water.
Sleep - Inadequate sleep can cause your body to release more cortisol. Try to schedule in eight hours of sleep by setting an alarm to tell you when to go to bed, as well as when to get up. Journalling, meditation practices or reading a book before bed can also help in relaxing your body and getting it ready for sleep.
Screen time – It’s totally normal to be spending more time on electronic devices while we are in this lockdown period, but tablets, computers and phone screens do create damaging radiations that are reflected back on to our skin. Where possible, try and limit the amount of screentime you’re exposing your skin to.
Picking - you may find yourself subconsciously touching your face more than you would normally. By doing so, you could be transferring bad bacteria from your hands to your face. This can make us more susceptible to infection which can, in turn, lead to breakouts. Keeping your skin cool and moisturised can help with any itchy feelings that may prompt you to start touching it.
Like practising yoga, stepping away from social media, or taking a warm bubble bath to help you unwind and relax, think of your skincare routine in the same way. Caring for your skin is a simple act of self-care and one your skin will thank you for. Take control and focus on the positives xx