Our skin is just a reflection of our health and how we take care of ourselves. But, sometimes, no matter how much effort we exert in taking care of it, extraneous factors can always get in the way.
The sun is one of the biggest factors which affect the skin. According to Doris Day, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center, the sun causes uneven skin tone, accelerated aging and even skin cancer. It can also cause dark spots and wrinkling.
According to the World Health Organization, small amounts of UV are beneficial for people and essential in the production of vitamin D, the exposure to UV rays should be strictly and medically monitored, for prolonged and unsupervised exposure can lead to negative and harmful effects to the skin. Long exposure to it induces degenerative changes in cells of the skin, fibrous tissue and blood vessels leading to premature skin aging, among others.
Aside from the sun, the air pollution takes its toll on our skin too. Microscopic specks of smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants found in the atmosphere from natural and manmade sources damage the skin day by day.
Many studies and tests have proven that when pollution comes into contact with the skin, it doesn’t just sit on the surface unlike what many would imagine. Instead, these tiny particles, which are not visible to the naked eye, are absorbed by the pores, infiltrating to deeper layers of the epidermis. They would later cause pores blockage, inflammation, dehydration and a cellular-level reaction that makes the skin lose its elasticity and firmness.
“Pollution breaks down collagen and the lipid layer in the skin, which impairs skin barrier functions,” says Zoe Draelos, M.D., consulting professor of dermatology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and author of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology article “Aging in a Polluted World.”
Moreover, stress also makes the skin angry and well, stressed out. According to scientific journals and researchers, Stress causes a chemical response to the body which makes the skin more sensitive and reactive to other factors—such as the sun and pollution.
This is the reason why people who are under a lot of stress tend to have more breakouts. When the body experiences physical, mental or emotional stress, the brain signals the production of more cortisol, which is a hormone that tells the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. As you know, oily skin is more prone to acne. Stress also makes other skin problems such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.
People who experience stress also tend to skip their skincare routine and skim on their daily regimen, making its condition no better.
These factors make the skin angry and stressed. At this era, it is so easy to get preoccupied with our routines such as work, children, and social lives. These may be a good thing which means we are being productive, but at some points, it can be a hectic lifestyle and make us tend to forget our main priority which is to take care of ourselves. It is time to replenish and find a perfect balance of having a “me time” for a quick mood-booster. Dryness, redness, acne and breakouts, and the premature emergence of fine lines are signs of stressed skin.
If you have identified your skin as stressed out and angry. It’s the time to start taking extra care of your skin. Here are 10 ways you can soothe your stressed skin and help it to calm and recover:
Follow Your Skin Care Routine Religiously
Never neglect your skin. Don’t forget to do your skin care routine every day and every night. Make sure to wash your face and remove your makeup before going to bed. Use a toner with little or no alcohol and don’t skip on the moisturizer too. You don’t need to follow a hundred steps to complete a nightly skin care routine. Just remember: cleanse, tone, and moisturize.
During nights you want to feel extra pampered, put on some masks, or exfoliate. Keep in mind that these steps should not be done on a daily basis to avoid abrasions. Give your under eyes some loving’ too. Reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness by putting some eye cream or DIY it with some sliced cucumbers.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is not only for those who want to be fit; it is also beneficial for those who suffer stress manifested through the skin. “Anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD. Exercising increases the blood flow, which nourishes skin cells and keeps them vital. She added that the blood carries the oxygen which gives these cells and organs nutrients, including the skin. An increased blood flow also helps carry away waste products, such as free radicals. “By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system,” Marmur notes.
Exercise has also been shown to ease stress, which is one of the biggest contributing factors why the skin gets agitated.
As previously mentioned, the skin is the overall reflection of a person’s health and lifestyle. “I tell my patients that what they put in their mouth is as important as the products they apply on their skin,” says Dr. Jessica Wu (dermatologist and creator of Dr. Jessica Wu Skincare),
“Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin,” Wu added. Many skin experts advise avoiding sugary and salty foods, as well as those with too much oil. It is also debated whether dairy causes breakouts, but some dermatologists advice to stay away from it or consuming a lot.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Water works wonders for your skin. According to skin experts and dermatologists, without adequate water intake, skin appears duller, and wrinkles and pores more prominent, making the skin look older than what it really is.
The good old H2o is also supporting collagen production, which makes the skin plumper and more radiant. When skin is hydrated, plump, and elastic, it’s less likely to crack and let in external particles that can cause irritations and blemishes.
Have Enough Sleep
Our body repairs itself and recovers while you rest and sleep, so imagine how will your skin react if it didn’t have enough time to recharge? It is true that a good night rest can make noticeable differences to your internal body functions as well as your skin and overall appearance.
Sleep supports the production of new collagen. “That’s part of the repair process,” says Patricia Wexler, MD, a dermatologist in New York. “More collagen means skin is plumper and less likely to wrinkle,” Wexler said.
It is ideal to sleep 7-9 hours per day.
Meditate And Relax
Sometimes, you just need a little break. Practice stress management through deep breathing, Yoga, and meditation.
According to Dr. Cabell, a dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Geisinger Health System, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, meditation benefits the skin more than some people believe. “This will act to release chemicals that counter the “stress” chemicals and hormones. In addition, allowing calm breathing helps oxygenate our bodies and both the breathing and state of calm will help with toxin elimination.” She also recommends yoga poses that release the force of gravity on the skin. “Yoga also stimulates blood flow, lymphatic flow, and oxygenation throughout the entire body.”
Do The Things That You Love
Make time for yourself and do the things you love and those who matter to you. Read. Travel. Take a long and relaxing bath. The world today is so fast-paced that many tend to forget about the things that they want to do, and prioritize the things they need to accomplish. Even if you only have ten minutes, provide yourself the luxury of time by doing the things that relax you and makes you happy.
Pamper Yourself Once In A While
Having pampered days for your skin is also one way of soothing the stress out of it. Have facials, massages, rubs, etc. Consider this your reward for doing enough hard work. Let your skin feel loved at least twice a month because you deserve it.
Learn To Say No
It’s OK to set limits and boundaries to lower your stress. Know your limits and say no to the things that make you worry too much, or makes you stay up later at night. Learn to listen to your body and know when enough is enough.
Use The Right Products For Your Skin
Each person is different. Aside from the different extraneous factors that damage the skin on a daily basis, each person also has a different skin type. Therefore, different products will work for you.
Some people may easily be persuaded to buy products advertised by celebrities, oftentimes overlook whether their product is suitable for their skin type. If the skin type and product are mismatched, it can cause irritation or lead to acne or breakouts.
Hope, the above tips will help you lots to manage your duller skin. Create your own skin care routine, buy products as per your skin type and follow the whole skin care regimen. It’s no time to have smooth prettier skin tone.
Author: Elham is a qualified aesthetician and laser clinician with over 10 years hands-on experience in cosmetic and skincare industry. She opened her exclusive practice, Medix Skincare & Laser Clinic, in Melbourne in 2010, where she and her team of highly trained and tertiary qualified dermal therapists provide customized skincare and cosmetic treatments while leading the way in customer service.