Clear your complexion by understanding the ways stress affects it
Everyone has had it at some point: a few pimples attributed to stress at school, work or home. But the cortisol released during times of stress isn’t only creating acne—it contributes to several other afflictions. “During stress, our body is programmed for a fight or flight response going back thousands of years,” says Skyn Iceland founder Sarah Kugelman. “We’re releasing all these chemicals and hormones into the body and it has a really challenging effect. There are five to six ways stress affects the skin,” a conclusion she arrived at after studying more than a year at the American Institute of Stress, “since one’s skin is the window to what’s going on inside.” Luckily, all results can be reversed.
Kugelman cites increased production of oil and acne; hives, allergies and redness due to released histamine; accelerated aging due to intense negative stress; break down of the lipid barrier and dehydration; and accelerated hormonal hyperpigmentation as the signs of stressed skin. These things can be due to loss of sleep, not drinking enough water, eating too much high-fat and high-sugar food, and even tensing muscles, which leads to more shallow breathing, depleting oxygen to the skin. It was these issues that led the Skyn founder, who recently debuted her White Cloud Spot Corrector, to create her line. The range, based on encapsulated oxygen, water from glaciers in Iceland and arctic berries, boasts a wonder-working eye cream (“you see stress first in the eye area”) among other formulas with high levels of active ingredients, a precise combination of anti-inflammatories, anti-bacterials and antioxidants.
The Skyn standouts not only address aging, but secondary and tertiary problems like acne, sun protection and hydration simultaneously. Anxiety can also positively benefit from “carving out time for yourself—get a facial, take a yoga class, have a massage or do something to break the cycle,” says Kugelman. “With stress it’s all about managing it. I can’t say it will ever go away, especially if you’re a type A and thrive on being fast-paced,” she adds. “But you have to recognize the signs and see it in your skin.” And then, of course, enact the right combination of healing products with improved diet, breathing and rest to counterbalance stress’s aging effects.