Health experts from every direction are continuously warning us of the dangers of stress and how it impacts our health and wellbeing. But between our meditation apps and sunrise yoga in a bid to find some zen, we’re often oblivious to the ravaging effects of stress on our skin, and how to combat it. From hormones to sleeplessness, de-stressing our complexion is the latest beauty priority, so we asked a few experts to get us acquainted with the products easing dermal tension.
Essentially, cortisol (the hormone released during stress) damages collagen, the protein that gives our skin its bouncy structure. Stress takes your plump, bouncy complexion and hardens it, increasing the look of wrinkles and inhibits skin healing (scary stuff). What’s more (and we’ve all been here), stress hinders your ability to sleep deeply, meaning our skin doesn’t enter the repair phase, and produces further amounts of cortisol, thus the vicious cycle ensues.
Sometimes stresses are inevitable (because bills, traffic, deadlines and life, really) but luckily there are a few products hitting shelves that work to calm the mind, and reduce cortisol held in our skin. So, we asked David Delport, Global Ambassador and Head of Education for REN skincare and Emma Hobson, the Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute to give us their go-to skin de-stressors, and we added our personal fave, too.
David's Pick: Placating Plankton
This body lotion uses plankton extract to control and reduce the amounts of cortisol that make their way into the layers of your skin to a point where it won’t start degrading your collagen, lower the inflammation, and puts the skin back into a balanced state. "We always knew stress was bad for your skin, but we didn't know why. Now we know that the stress hormone cortisol actually makes its way into your skin," says David. "It interrupts the production of collagen, which of course is responsible for the skin's bounce." The magnesium in this formula is soothing; kelp hydrates, and essential oils calm the mind. It’s even great to pop onto your hands before a meeting or interview if you suffer from sweaty palms. Massage it into your body after one of those everything-went-wrong type days and drift off to sleep, pretending it never happened.
Emma's Pick: Eye Opener
A newbie hitting shelves, this product is specifically to treat the delicate skin around the eye area during times of stress. "Stress can affect the skin in several ways," says Emma. "When developing Stress Positive Eye Lift, we extensively researched these ingredients so we had a product that could dramatically improve key concerns in the delicate, stressed eye area, without compromising skin health." These ingredients include sea water extract, arctic algae and fermented yeasts are fancy hero ingredients that work to protect the skin barrier and protect skin lipid levels. This is so important when it comes to the thin skin around the eye. Pat it around the eye area any time you want to look extra bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Beauticate Loves: Oil Down
As soon as we wake in the morning, our cortisol levels begin to rise as they are directly linked to daylight (not to mention the whole 'what do I wear today' stress situation). So essentially as soon as we open our eyes, our complexion is under attack. While researching this, I was in the middle of a big move and working long hours, and had started noticing my skin was getting sallow, and I started to breakout. Not good in the beauty game! I found that This Works, a brand designed to work with our body clock, and their latest Stress Check Oil really did work for me (not just a clever name). It is a beautiful blend of eucalyptus, lavender, ravensara and frankincense known for their calming and meditative properties. I press it into my face every morning before moisturiser and take a few deep breaths to calm the brain.
Story by Emily Algar