With reports last year suggesting that three out of four Brits have felt overwhelmed by stress in the last year, we think it’s safe to say that it’s not exactly a niche problem. And as anyone who has suffered from stress will attest, it can wreak havoc on your skin. The irony being that this only serves to cause more stress, and the vicious circle continues. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the effects on your skin. We’ve teamed with Dr Daron Seukeran, Medical Director at sk:n, to give you these; our 5 IDEAL ways to destress your skin.
EAT MORE CARROTS
We have always been told that eating carrots is great for our vision. A less discussed positive, though, is the great benefits they bring to our skin. Carrots provide a vital source of vitamin A, which is helpful for any healthy skin diet. They also contain biotin, vitamins K, C and B6, potassium and thiamine, all of which can help skin cells stay healthy. Many people find cooking is a great way to relax, so when you’re next in the kitchen, try whipping up a carrot-centric dish to double the benefits.
Knitting has been found to reduce depression and anxiety, and its repetitive movements can elicit the much sought after relaxation response, which is the body’s counterbalance to stress, when heart rate and blood pressure fall, breathing slows, and levels of stress hormones drop. When you trigger the relaxation response, it can lower the effect of stress on inflammation of the skin. If picking up the needles isn’t for you, try other relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness hobbies like writing or painting, meditation or yoga.
Exercise can help to lower stress levels by increasing levels of beta-endorphins, which fight the effects of cortisol. It can also boost energy levels and the immune system, in turn helping to improve eczema and psoriasis symptoms. However, it’s vital that you always ensure you adapt your workout appropriately for your skin needs – for instance, if you’re having a flare-up, opt for low-impact workouts and wear loose clothing.
CHOOSE YOUR MAKEUP CAREFULLY
It’s tempting to use more cosmetics to cover up irritated skin and breakouts, especially if you are already feeling stressed-out by their appearance. However, applying makeup can clog pores and further trigger inflammation; another of those feared vicious cycles which keep cropping up, right? Going cold turkey isn’t always a realistic option for some people but be aware that sometimes makeup can make your skin worse due to an allergic or irritant effect, so be diligent with reading the ingredients of any potential purchases.
TRY DISTRACTION TECHNIQUES
For some, a response to feeling anxious or stressed can lead to skin picking disorder (also called dermatillomania or excoriation disorder), where you repeatedly squeeze or pick at your skin. However, repeated picking can leave scars and spread further inflammation across the affected area. If you feel like you’re picking is out of control, visit your GP or dermatologist to prevent causing any lasting damage.