’Tis the season of stress. Stress affects your whole body mentally and physically, and it can even show up on your skin. If you’ve noticed a major glow down (or you routinely have that holiday skin freak-out) you could have stressed skin.
There are many causes of stressed skin. It could be the sudden shift to cold winter temps drying out your skin, lack of sleep, change in diet (with one too many extra office cookies), and, of course, stress itself.
Stressed skin can look different for everyone. We all handle stress differently, and there are so many different factors at play that nobody will have the exact same response. Generally, stressed skin often looks dull, flaky, and dry; it can feel tight; and you could get a sudden acne breakout or even an eczema flare-up. We know: It’s a really cute holiday look.
To sort out your stressed skin, you need to take a two-pronged approach: taking care of your physical and mental health and working on your glow-getting skincare routine.
Alleviating the source of stress is going to do wonders, whether it’s a big work assignment, party-planning stress, or just feeling run down.
This isn’t always in your control, though (or may take some time), so penciling in some self-care is critical. Bunker yourself at home, drink a big glass of water, do some stress-relieving yoga, eat a healthy meal, put on your favorite cozy pajamas, and get a good night’s sleep.
You probably won’t see an overnight difference in your skin, so repeat as necessary.
What may just give you an overnight change in your skin is focusing on a mellow, hydrating skincare routine. Use only gentle skincare, so no harsh acne-fighting cleansers that will dry out skin and no abrasive physical exfoliants. Be kind to your stressed skin! Instead use oils and moisturizers, and maybe use a washcloth to exfoliate if your skin is flaky. Just don’t scrub so hard that you give yourself rug burn.
You can also relax with a face mask night. Try a DIY honey mask; it’s sticky but so worth it. Honey is a humectant (it draws water into the skin) and can be soothing for stressed-out skin. Apply a thin layer of honey over your face, avoiding your eyes and hair, and let it sit on the skin for 10 to 20 minutes. Then rinse off with water to reveal your smooth skin.
For next year (or if you’re here before seeing stressed skin, good on ya!) focus on prevention. Be sure to practice self-care during stressful times. Carving out an hour on the weekend to prepare healthy meals for the week—or doing just 20 minutes of yoga a day—can work wonders.
Focus on eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, chia seeds, or walnuts. Try this yummy salmon salad recipe, and sub the pecans for walnuts to get even more omega-3s out of the deal. Also, keep hydration in mind by drinking lots of water or herbal tea and using hydrating skincare.
Taking care of stressed skin really forces you to take care of your whole being. A panicked mind and a body filled with sugars are a disaster for your skin without a proper skincare routine. Be good to your body and mind and your skin will follow.