Stressed-Out Skin: Ask The Experts

Lockdown living has us all out of sync; with normal routines suspended and new stresses added in to the mix. With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that for most of us our skin has also taken a hit whether it be due to poor diet, lack of activity, stress or simply not being able to maintain regular treatments.

Thankfully Dr Edel Woods and Dr Clodagh O’Shea, Aesthetic Doctors and Founders of YUVÄ have some advice on how the experts optimise their skin during lockdown and some product suggestions to help get you glowing again.

Lifestyle Factors

The change in lifestyle is wreaking havoc not only with our schedules, but also with our skin. We are hearing more and more often of patients suffering with new breakouts, dry patches and flare ups of redness or rosacea. We also know that as the weeks roll by, many are missing their regular skin and aesthetic treatments and wondering how to optimise their skin at home.

Let’s first look at why our skin has started to misbehave during lockdown. There are a combination of factors involved. For many, an underlying level of stress is having a major impact. Stress triggers a communication pathway between the brain and the adrenal glands, which in turn causes the release of two hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones target many organs including the skin. They increase blood flow to the skin and trigger inflammatory responses in the skin. Acne, breakouts, redness and rosacea are all inflammatory skin conditions so they in turn worsen when these hormones spike. Long term inflammation can also disrupt the skin barrier, which can result in excessive transepidermal water loss (TEWL) leading to skin dehydration. It’s really no wonder our skin and bodies are reacting to this stressful time in our lives.

How can we improve things? 

We need to reduce our stress levels! It’s much easier said than done, but putting some techniques in place to minimise stress will make a difference. This is a worthwhile task for your general health, as well as your skin health. It might be as simple as putting the computer away an hour earlier at night or taking a walk at lunchtime. Now that we are all working from home, you have a little more power to manage your schedule. Use this opportunity to put a few moments aside each day, just for you.

A once weekly home facial will not just benefit your skin health, but also benefit your mental health. Here are our top tips for making your facial skin worthy.

  1. Whether you decide to do this in the morning or evening, we recommend you set the scene. Put your phone away, light a candle and enjoy this time. Take a deep breath.
  2. Cleanse with an appropriate cleanser. For oily skin types reach for an oil free gel cleanser. We love Skinceuticals Simply Clean or Skinceuticals Blemish & Age. For sensitive, dry or rosacea skin start your home treatment with a gentle cleanser. . We recommend La Roche Posay Toleraine. Take 60 seconds to cleanse so that you know you have optimally cleansed your skin and removed all the invisible grime and toxins. Use tepid water and a soft cloth or cotton.
  1. Pat your skin dry after cleansing with clean soft cotton or a soft cloth.
  1. Your next step is exfoliation. This helps to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells. This will reboot your skin cell cycle and encourage new healthy cells to come to the surface. There are very few physical or ‘scrub’ exfoliants that we recommend because many cause microtears and damage to the delicate upper skin layer. The only exceptions we would make are: Obagi Vitamin C microdermabrasion for normal-dry skin types or AlumierMD Lotus Scrub for oily, sensitive or acne skin types. An alternative to these gritty scrubs would be to use an enzyme mask or chemical exfoliant. We love Dr Dennis Gross range of at home peels.
  1. Remove your exfoliator as per the instructions. Dry your skin gently and apply a hydrating mask.  If you are doing your treatment in the morning, you can leave many hydrating masks on while you work. Another bonus of working from home! We love: La Roche Posay Hydraphase and Dr Levy R3 Cell Matrix Mask.
  1. Finish your home treatment by applying your targeted serum. This might be a dedicated acne, pigment, redness or hydrating serum. Your skin is optimally primed to absorb these key ingredients so don’t skip this step. Follow with a deeply hydrating moisturiser. We recommend AlumierMD  Recovery Balm or Obagi Hydrate. Both are firm fan favourites and deeply nourishing.
  1. Unless your facial is just before bed, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen. Your skin has been thoroughly cleansed and polished, making it a little more susceptible to sun damage. Liberally apply a broad spectrum sunscreen and you are good to go.

We hope this helps you to regain control of your skin while at home. Happy masking!

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