How To Destress Your Skin

Stress. Everyone deals with it and we know it is bad for us, not only for our mental well-being but for our body as well. But did you know there is a direct correlation between psychological stress and the skin? And it’s cyclical! Stress causes skin issues and in turn, those skin issues cause stress. The brain has a stress-activated pathway that causes the release of various chemicals and hormones that drive inflammation, the culprit behind all kinds of skin problems. Additionally, feelings of emotional distress cause the stress hormone Cortisol to be released which is known to affect the immune system, making the skin worse at defending itself as well as disrupting the skin’s microbiome (its natural barrier.) 


It’s not only physical stress that causes problems, but environmental factors can also stress the skin. Everything from pollution to sun exposure to a poor diet can leave the skin feeling depleted. And in a cruel, no-win situation, having skin that doesn’t look good can actually lead to more stress. When we don’t look good, we don’t feel good about ourselves which can lead to anxiety and low self-esteem. 


Symptom of stressed skin are so wide-reaching; many people don’t even realize stress is the reason for recent skin problems. Inflammation is known to cause a variety of skin issues including redness, excessive dryness, and flare-ups of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and even acne just to name a few.


So, we need to destress – our mind and our skin. When we think about destressing the skin, it’s important to work on it from all angles – a great skincare routine is important but there are other factors to consider. Diet plays a big part. Focus on a balanced diet with protein, carbohydrates, good fats, and natural sugars plus lots of leafy greens – they’re packed with antioxidants. Drinking lots of water is crucial as well because it keeps the body and the skin hydrated. 


Sleep is another important factor. Most studies agree that we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to let the body rest and repair itself and that includes the skin. There is a lot of skin cell repair and rejuvenation going on during deep sleep cycles - it’s called Beauty Sleep for a reason!


A consistent exercise program is known to help alleviate stress but equally important are slow, mindful activities. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises are perfect for switching off the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) and letting the parasympathetic nervous system take the lead (which lowers cortisol levels and has a calming effect.) 


Last but certainly not least, skincare is an integral part of destressing the skin. But here is where paying attention to ingredients becomes important because it’s possible to stress your skin further with the wrong skincare products. Instead, focus on products using ingredients that help support the skin barrier or microbiome. Because the skin microbiome plays many roles in keeping us healthy, it’s important to work on keeping it strong and stress is one of the things that can damage or break the skin barrier. A balanced, healthy skin microbiome actually protects the skin from stress and inflammation so finding skincare that supports the microbiome is critical. 


In addition to protecting the microbiome, anti-inflammatory ingredients are important for stressed skin because stress causes inflammation and inflammation can wreak havoc on the skin. Calm angry skin with anti-inflammatory ingredients like Calendula Oil, Sodium PCA, and Niacinamide. Calendula Oil is a natural oil extracted from marigold flowers. A powerhouse ingredient, it has anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Sodium PCA is an ingredient similar to hyaluronic acid that is able to penetrate into lower levels of the skin to provide hydration while also offering anti-inflammatory properties. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is another powerful anti-inflammatory that boasts many other benefits including restoring the lipid barrier and building up the skin’s immunity.


Shielded Beauty recognized how important a healthy skin microbiome is and created a clean beauty breakthrough. Their patent-pending Guardian Complex™ was created to safeguard the skin from impurities and balance the microbiome. Containing potent antioxidants, nourishing hydrators, gentle actives, natural compounds known to contain antimicrobial activity and the anti-inflammatory ingredients above, Shielded Beauty products with the Guardian Complex™ are a great tool for protecting against skin stress.