The radical and sudden change in our lives has created massive uncertainty and stress for us all, and many have noticed unusual changes in their skin since the lockdown began. We may be experiencing skin conditions for the first time in months or even years. Since prehistoric times, our response to stressors was the production of the hormone cortisol. This prompted a ‘fight or flight’ response in cave people when they were faced with a sabre tooth tiger. Today, it’s not the tiger that is the threat – it’s the virus!
HOW DOES STRESS AGE SKIN?
Cortisol has far-reaching effects throughout our bodies such as immune suppression, inflammation (that basis of all disease), eczema or psoriasis flare ups, dry skin, and excessive oil production. For instance, stress zits occur because the cortisol causes increased testosterone in the bloodstream which directly impacts our oil glands, leading to blocked pores. We may also notice dry patches and a general lack lustre complexion. This is all our body’s natural response to the stress we are facing at the moment.
It is especially important to be kinder to yourself during this time. Take the time to make yourself healthy meals, keep up your exercise routine and practice activities that keep you in the moment. Not all of us are champion meditators, so even creative pursuits like painting or colouring will encourage a reduction in your cortisol levels. Do try and get at least 20 minutes of gentle morning sunlight per day and, of course, don’t neglect your skincare routine.
CAN YOU ADDRESS IT TOPICALLY?
It is not possible to directly reverse the body’s stress chemicals with topical products alone. However, you can address the effects of stress such as a depleted immune system, aged skin and skin inflammation with the following essential skin ingredients:
- Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) is a multitasking skin vitamin that increased skin immunity and reduces skin inflammation (try Vitamin B).
- Hydrolised algin is a long chain sugar derived from seaweed that is able to stimulate the skin’s own natural repair mechanism and reduce skin inflammation caused by stress (found in DermaCalm).
- Retinol (stabilised form) reduces the production of inflammatory factors produced in the skin in response to stress (try Vitamin A).
- L-ascorbic acid is a natural inflammatory and antioxidant that reduces free radical damage on skin cells which leads to ageing and irritation (found in Pure-C Crystals or SupremaC+).
- Acetyl Hexapeptide-51 is a breakthrough new peptide ingredient based on the regenerative ability of the immortal jellyfish. This ingredient is able to program damaged cells to repair and reverse cellular ageing in skin (try SuperSerum+).
Not sure what products are suitable for your skin type? Head to our Analyse Your Skin quiz to find your routine. Your skin confidence begins here.