With looming work deadlines, social engagements galore, and the reliably frantic holidays on the horizon, it can seem like the hustle never ends. We know that stress isn’t good for us mentally or emotionally, but did you know it can also have a direct impact on your skin? “When you’re stressed, your immune system essentially goes into defense mode, causing increased release of cortisol, a stress hormone,” explains Michele Farber, MD of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. “Cortisol can lead to excess oil production and cause flare-ups of acne and related conditions like seborrheic dermatitis — those unwanted greasy patches on the face and scalp.”
But it’s not just internal stress that can make your complexion go haywire. Your skin itself can be stressed, too, thanks to a barrage of environmental aggressors — like UV light and pollution — that lead to free radical damage. This damage eventually leads to signs of premature aging (read: wrinkles and poor skin texture), inflammation, dryness, dullness, and that aforementioned acne.
“Bottom line: Taking time to address and manage stress will help your skin,” Dr. Farber says. That goes for your skin care, too, as certain ingredients can help drastically improve your skin’s health and prevent disasters. To keep both mind and skin clear and calm, take an inside-out approach with these stress-reducing tricks.
Treat Skin As You Snooze
One fail-proof way to reduce stress: Turn off your phone and just go to bed. Put it away from your bed to help you resist the temptation to scroll through Insta until 2 a.m. And it’s not just to benefit your mood the next morning. At night, when it’s no longer under the constant assault of stressors like sunlight and pollution, your skin finally has a chance to repair itself from the damage it sustained in the daylight hours. Make the most of that reparative REM cycle by applying an overnight sleeping mask before you tuck yourself in.
How to do it: Unlike your average cream, sleeping masks are formulated specifically to work with your sleep’s repair system to transform your skin literally overnight. You already know and love our Glow Recipe Skincare Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, but we think you’re going to be similarly obsessed with the newest member of the Glow family: Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask.
Designed for those suffering from stressed-out, tired skin, Avocado Melt is packed with ingredients that make it rich and repairing without clogging pores or irritating already compromised skin.
But, this is not your mama’s night cream. The dreamy formula stars Avocado (duh), which is rich in fatty acids, for long-lasting moisture; Manuka Honey, a natural firming, antibacterial, and healing extract; and PHA, an incredibly gentle acid that erases dead skin and debris without causing sensitivity. Its whipped texture wraps your skin in a cocoon of nourishment without feeling greasy or heavy. In fact, we had our labs do the almost impossible by infusing Avocado Melt with Kaolin, a natural clay that soaks up excess oil and de-clogs pores. It’s usually only found in masks and blemish treatments, so this is huge news. It ensures your skin stays soft, bright, and clear. Smooth it on and you’ll wake up to a refreshed complexion and a clearer mind, to boot.
Breathe Deeply In Between Skin-Care Steps
While you’re waiting for your go-to serum to sink in, stop and take a deep breath. “Nine out of 10 people breathe shallow chest breaths, which significantly impacts our stress and anxiety levels,” says Poppy Jamie, founder of the Happy Not Perfect meditation app. “Learning to belly breathe — or breathing into your lower body — stimulates your brain’s vagus nerve, helping you move out of the fight-or-flight system and into the rest-and-relax system.”
How to do it: Place one hand on your chest and the other just below your ribcage (which enables you to feel your diaphragm). Breathe in slowly through your nose, feeling your diaphragm move out with your lower hand while your chest remains still. Tighten your stomach muscles as you exhale through pursed lips. Repeat a few times — and then move onto your moisturizer. Building this in as part of your skincare routine will help make it a habit.
Apply A Calming Mask & Write A Gratitude Diary
“It’s easy to become stuck in thought loops of: I’m exhausted, useless, fearful, worried, and stressed,” says Jamie. “Writing a gratitude diary helps shift the perspective —studies found gratitude affects the production of happy hormones, and it helps you to practice and develop a positive mindset.”
How to do it: Double up on that positivity promotion by adding a great masking session to your journal practice. Opt for a mask that dries fully and won’t drip onto paper, like MD’s Pick Goji Water Rubber Mask, which soothes skin with Centella extract and repairs with antioxidants. Then, grab a journal and jot down three things you’re grateful for. These can be anything from a great morning run to your BFFs’ hilarious group texts. The point is to focus in on the things you love, rather than constantly harping on the bad stuff.
Make Time for a Face Massage
Don’t just pat on your moisturizer and call it a night. Instead, take the time to massage it into your skin the way an aesthetician would (using clean hands, of course). Not only does the manual stimulation help drain fluids and reduce puffiness, but the increased circulation boosts radiance, too. Bonus: You won’t be able to refresh your work email for the 100th time or scroll through social media while your mask does its thing.
How to do it: Start by massaging a moisturizing essence, like the Jullai Super 12 Bounce Essence Toner (which delivers lightweight hydration and a powerful antioxidant complex), starting from your neck and working up and out along your jawline. Continue for at least a minute. Repeat over the rest of your face, making sure your hands move up and out as you go. Then, place two fingers beneath your cheekbones, starting close to your nose. Swoop them down and then out towards your ears, creating a checkmark-like shape. Visual learners, don’t worry: Here’s a full diagram.
Give a Gift to Others
A good way to get your mind off your worries: Channel your energy into helping others take their minds off their worries. “When we’re stressed, anxious, and burnt out, it’s very easy to think only about ourselves,” says Jamie. She suggests asking yourself if you’ve thought about anyone else today. Did you make anyone else’s day better? Who could you send a positive note to? Because if you’re feeling stressed, odds are someone around you probably is, too.
How to do it: If a co-worker or friend is in a mid-week funk, gift her with a sheet mask like Make P:Rem Comfort Air Sheet Mask. With soothing ingredients like Chamomile extract and Nordic Berry, it’ll put her skin and her mind at ease. Chances are it’ll also make you feel better.
Stress is a daily part of all of our lives, but that doesn’t mean you need to let it rule yours. Practice these simple steps and be ready to feel a whole more “ahh” than “argh.”
Categories: Glow Recipe