Stress is a constant companion in today's fast-paced world and can have an impact on both mental well-being and physical health. One of the often overlooked consequences of stress is its impact on the skin. In this blog post, we'll look at the impact of stress on the skin and ways to reduce stress and incorporate it into your skincare routine to help you maintain healthy, glowing skin.
How stress affects the skin
When we are stressed, the body produces hormones including adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, which can promote inflammation and weaken the skin barrier. In turn, a weakened skin barrier can lead to a loss of moisture, which manifests itself with dryness, itching and irritation. It may also stimulate sebum production, which can lead to clogged pores and acne.
There are different types of stress that can have a negative effect on the skin:
Anxiety, worry, and negative emotions create stress in your body, which can cause it to produce the stress hormone cortisol in greater amounts. Increased cortisol production can increase sebum production in the skin and promote inflammatory responses, which can then contribute to skin problems like acne, rosacea, or eczema. Stress management techniques such as meditation, deep relaxation or breathing exercises can help you reduce your stress levels and give you a better and healthier skin appearance.
Air pollution, UV radiation and extreme temperatures (cold in winter, heat in summer) can damage the skin barrier and cause oxidative stress. Thus, these factors contribute to premature aging, hyperpigmentation and a weakened skin barrier. Important protective measures against environmental stress include the daily use of sunscreen products with at least SPF 30, the use of antioxidant skin care products, and a skin care routine adapted to the season. This includes, for example, using a rich, protective moisturizer on cold winter days or a light, cooling moisturizer in warm temperatures or climates.
Physical stress results from lack of sleep, poor diet, and unhealthy lifestyle habits that can impair skin regeneration and worsen skin appearance. A lack of sleep prevents your skin from adequately recovering at night, which can contribute to dull skin, dark circles under the eyes, and increased susceptibility to skin irritation. An unhealthy diet can also lead to skin problems by promoting nutrient deficiencies and inflammation. Therefore, for healthy skin, it is also very important to make sure you get enough sleep and eat a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.
If you know the skin stressing factors, you can easily intervene to minimize the negative effects on your skin!
Less stress for you and your skin
Of course, your skin will also benefit if you manage to reduce the overall stress level in your life. Here are some general strategies that can also have positive effects on your skin:
Meditation and mindfulness exercises
Meditation and mindfulness exercises are proven and simple practices that can actually lower stress levels significantly. Just a few minutes each day spent in meditation or other mindfulness exercises will help reinforce positive thoughts and stabilize you emotionally. As your overall well-being improves, so will the condition of your skin.
Sports and physical activity
Regular exercise is another important factor in reducing stress. Physical activity promotes blood circulation, improves lymph flow and helps to reduce pathogenic stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. In turn, better circulation also provides your skin with more nutrients and oxygen which contributes to clear and glowing skin. If you don't have the time to go to the gym or attend a regular class each week, you can now find a wide range of online classes for yoga and many other sports, making it easier to integrate exercise into your daily routine.
During sleep, the skin regenerates and repairs damage caused by stress. Adequate sleep also helps to reduce stress hormones. In addition, with sufficient night sleep, the body can fully carry out the necessary regeneration and renewal processes. To do this, however, you need about 7-8 hours of sleep per night, otherwise these processes are not, or only partially completed, which unfortunately also affects the freshness of the skin. A relaxed evening routine with a detailed beauty program, including an overnight mask, a relaxing tea, a lavender scented lamp and a pleasant environment can promote a deep, healing sleep and give you fresh, rosy skin when you wake up.
If you can manage to consistently incorporate even one or two stress-reducing measures into your daily routine, you can enjoy healthier, more youthful skin over time.
Important: the right skin care
The most important prerequisite for well-groomed skin is gentle but thorough cleansing. Especially in the evening, you should always cleanse your skin of make-up residues, dirt, oil and environmental pollutants. All Korean skin care products are generally very mild, nourishing and skin-friendly. To thoroughly remove both oil and water soluble pollutants, double cleansing is very suitable. First use an oil-based cleanser, e.g. a mild cleansing oil. Then, remove the pollutants and makeup residues dissolved in the oil with a water-based cleanser. This leaves your skin super-clean and perfectly prepared to receive the subsequent skin care products. The choice of products depends, of course, on your skin type and your personal preferences for skin cleansing.
Daily use of a good moisturizer helps to strengthen the skin barrier and prevent moisture loss. Products with skin-soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, centella asiatica, houttuniya cordata, panthenol or ceramides are especially recommended. These ingredients can help reduce redness and irritation that can result from stress. The choice is huge, for an optimal result it is of course important that you use a skin care cream that suits your skin type and needs.
Serums and treatments
Serums and treatments are richer and more targeted than creams, so they can help you regenerate stressed skin. Serums with antioxidant ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E or niacinamide can reduce oxidative stress and protect your skin from environmental damage. Since antioxidants also promote collagen production, they also help improve skin elasticity. Anti-inflammatory active ingredients such as salicylic acid or tea tree oil soothe the skin and are therefore particularly effective against blemishes, acne and skin irritations.
In any case: never without! The best and most indispensable anti-aging cream is a sunscreen, because UV radiation is one of the main factors that damage the skin barrier, cause stress on the skin and age the skin! Therefore, it is essential to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, better SPF 50, every day, even when the sun is not shining directly. Your sunscreen should block both UVA and UVB rays, as well as be tailored to your skin's individual needs. In addition to chemical and mineral sunscreens, there are also sunscreen products that contain additional skin care ingredients to soothe and protect your skin. Whether you love the scent of lavender, prefer it completely fragrance-free or you like a lemony freshness, the choice is large, here it depends on your personal preferences and needs.