Stress vs Skin: How To Win The War

As post break-up breakouts prove, what is happening in our heads often plays out on our skin. The biggest culprit is that horrid ball of twisted emotions known as stress.

When we’re under emotional pressure, our brains release the hormone cortisol into our bloodstreams. While cortisol provided a vital flight-fight response during our past lives as cavewomen, it does nothing for our skin. It tells oil glands to get busy producing more oil, triggering breakouts and it accelerates ageing by eating away at collagen, which keeps skin smooth and supple.

Our stress response also dilates blood vessels causing flushing, with dehydrated, sensitive skin more susceptible to damage being the side effect. Combine that with the sleepless nights that come hand-in-hand with anxiety, and skin is unable to repair itself.

While modern life becomes increasingly fraught, skincare is getting ever more sophisticated, helping to calm and soothe skin. This little lot are worthy investments for stressed-out skin in need of some TLC.

Estee Lauder Clear Difference Targeted Blemish Treatment, £22.50
With salicylic acid, potent anti-irritants and a soothing roller ball applicator to massage away inflammation, this is the perfect antidote to anxiety-induced breakouts.

Kiehls Skin Rescuer, £29.50
While blemishes might be a problem for anxiety-ridden complexions, so is dehydration. This helps fortify skin’s barrier function and combat the visible signs of stress (think tired, dull, dry looking complexions) with Mannose and Rosa Gallica.

Selexir Peace Balm, £39
A do-it-all for pretty much any skin concern, including eczema, which often flares-up with emotional strain, this salve contains no nasties and a cocktail of skin-soothing botanicals to restore equilibrium.

SKYN Iceland The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion, £32.50
This cooling cream is formulated with an ‘Icelandic complex’ which replenishes the nutrients depleted during times of trouble as well as Icelandic glacial water rich in hydrating, calming minerals.

Aveda Stress-Fix Composition Oil, £22
This all-natural blend of aromatic organic sunflower and jojoba seed oil can be used as a bath, body or scalp oil to calm the mind and soothe skin.



Writer and expert