Saturday, November 14, 2015

Solutions for Stressed Skin

Are you stressed out? If so, more than likely your skin reflects the stress you are experiencing in your life. Physical stress, such as injury, chemotherapy, or simply a hectic lifestyle, has an impact on the appearance of your skin. Even emotional stress can show up as tired-looking skin. The following are some of the many skin stress producers:
  • a hectic lifestyle
  • sun exposure
  • sleeplessness/fatigue
  • worry/concern/personal problems
  • poor diet, smoking, alcohol  
  • poor skin care habits
  • physical injury or illness
  • medication/chemotherapy

Any of these can have a negative effect on the health of your skin, producing a dull complexion as well as all-around tired-looking skin. Although stress takes a toll on the body as a whole, there are several ways to combat these ill effects and to experience healthy-looking, stress-free skin all year round. The following stress reducers can bring you closer to healthy, vibrant-looking skin.

As I discuss in my book, Timeless Skin: Healthy Skin for a Lifetime, exfoliation is paramount to healthy skin. Exfoliation helps to remove dead surface cells and increases circulation to the face, which gives your skin smoother texture and a healthy glow. I tell my clients when they can't come in for a facial—exfoliate! It is certainly not the be-all and end-all, but exfoliation can take away layers of stress from your face, revealing the natural beauty hidden beneath.

Along with exfoliation, using a cleansing or clay mask will help to remove dirt and debris that may have built up in your pores. A mask also stimulates blood flow to your face, giving your skin a healthy, well-nourished glow. One of my favorite recommendations for accomplishing these two steps (exfoliation and masking) is to give yourself a facial at home.

An at-home facial is an attempt to simulate the benefits of a professional facial in the comfort (and convenience) of your own home. As with massage, nothing takes the place of having an expert do all the work for you, but you can duplicate many of the steps of a facial, which will benefit your skin and help you feel relaxed and de-stressed! 

The ingredients in an at-home facial include exfoliating, using a clay mask, and relaxing. These three steps are beneficial to all skin types, from dry to oily. You’ll need about half an hour or so for your at-home facial. You can embellish my suggestions or tailor them to your particular schedule. If you can't find the time to take too long of a breather and actually relax, you can just exfoliate and mask, then get on with your day. But taking a few minutes out of a hectic day to relax and unwind sure feels good. And dare I say if you can’t find time to relax, you most likely really need to relax!

Make your bathroom a temporary relaxation sanctuary. Fill the room with candles, draw an aromatic bath, and listen to relaxing music to ease the stresses of the day from your body. If you’re not a bath-type person, find a room in your house where you can relax—undisturbed—for 15 minutes or so. It would also be nice to have soothing music to ease you into a calm, meditative state.

To start your at-home facial, you’ll want to:
  • Clean your skin with a facial cleanser
  • Then apply use your exfoliator of choice, which might be an abrasive scrub or a gel-type, non-abrasive peel (like Yonka’s Gommage)
  • Be sure to take a little extra time to exfoliate all the places you might be neglecting, like around your ears, hairline, and under your chin
  • Next, apply a clay or hydrating mask. (Please read How to use a Clay Mask—Important Instructions if you don’t know to keep the mask moist. See link below.)

Then go to your peaceful place (either your quiet room or bathtub), and relax. Be sure to breathe! Simply inhaling and exhaling slowly can help to reduce stress on the spot. When you’re ready to face the world again (or just ready to get out of the tub!), remove the clay mask at your sink—not with the bathwater—with tepid (not hot or cold) water. Follow with spray toner and your day or night cream, depending. Remember eye cream as well. 

An at-home facial can be done whenever you need a mini-break from a stressful day. Traveling can offer an ideal opportunity to have some uninterrupted “me” time, especially if you are away from your family and the normal stresses and responsibilities of home. It may seem impossible to take time out for yourself, but once you know it is possible, at-home facials can benefit you on several levels. Enjoy your treatment and know you are helping yourself, not just your skin, in many ways.        

Even if you can’t erase the stress from your life, incorporating these few simple steps once a week can help reduce stress from your skin. Just remember, it only takes a few minutes to keep the stressed-out look away!

For skin care recommendations, see:
For some anti-stress solutions, see:

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