In the first edit in this series, I looked at the ways in which stress can impact the skin – and how to spot the symptoms. And although I loved researching the science behind this topic, I’m sure you might have been left wondering one thing: how do you actually treat stressed skin?
So, I wanted to create an edit that explains how to comfort and relieve some of the most common symptoms of stressed skin, so you can not only spot the signs, but also improve the effects. And of course, I’ll be throwing in a few of my top skincare recommendations to help.
Before I jump straight in and explain how to treat, repair and calm stressed skin, I want to acknowledge that stress can affect everyone differently. So, I’ll be breaking this edit down into some of the most common ways it can appear while sharing a few top tips on how to care for your skin during stressful times. It’s also important to note that you might need to seek advice from your local GP or dermatologist, especially if you are struggling with signs of stress or flare-ups for the first time.
1. Dryness On Your Body
How To Manage Dry Skin:
• Avoid long, hot showers.
• Avoid extreme changes in temperature, such as air con or central heating.
• Take care while out in the sun (and make sure to wear a hydrating SPF!)
• Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Especially after cleansing.
My Top Recommendation: There are plenty of body moisturisers that take skin dryness seriously, but one of my top recommendations has to be Clarins’ Moisture-Rich Body Lotion. Recently reformulated to be even greener, the best-selling body lotion is perfect for dry skin in need of extra attention as it strengthens the skin’s hydrolipidic barrier to keep dryness and dehydration at bay.
But that’s not all; it also tones, tightens and smooths skin, while a nourishing dose of shea butter offers impressive skin-softening and conditioning benefits. Plus, the dreamy fragrance gently wraps you up in a pleasant floral scent, allowing you to take a moment for yourself as you massage in the melting lotion.
How To Manage Dullness:
• Exfoliate regularly.
• Look for radiance-revealing skincare ingredients, such as vitamin C and niacinamide.
• Make sure to moisturise regularly.
My Top Recommendation: If you only struggle with the occasional bout of skin-dullness when life gets hectic, then you might not necessarily want to address this concern in your everyday skincare routine; that’s exactly why I love Philosophy’s Turbo Booster B3 Powder so much. You can simply pop this 100% topical niacinamide powder into your existing products as and when you want to supercharge your skincare.
But this radiance-revealing powder doesn’t just tackle dulling complexions and pigmentation, it also offers a few hidden anti-ageing benefits! It helps to smooth and firm skin, while improving texture. But the best thing? It’s suitable for all skin types, so even if you’re looking to address stress-related dullness, but you still want something that’s gentle and caring (after all, you might be a bit dubious to overload your skin when it’s already under pressure), then this is a great solution. Not only is niacinamide suitable for use on sensitive skin, but it even helps to calm redness and inflammation.
3. Oiliness and Breakouts
How To Manage Oily Skin and Breakouts:
• Maintain a regular cleansing routine.
• Exfoliate regularly – ideally once a week.
• Don’t skip moisturiser; oily skin still needs hydration.
• Look for mattifying skincare or makeup if you want to minimise shine.
• Cleanse after excessive sweating and make sure to cleanse your makeup brushes and flannels frequently.
My Top Recommendation: Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with the occasional stress-related breakout. And not only does stress impact the way your skin is feeling, but it also takes its toll on the way that you’re feeling. When you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, the last thing you want is a warning sign in the form of a spot. So, during these times, I try to set a little more time aside for self-care. No matter what you choose to do to help relax and pause for a moment, it’s always important to find things that work for you to help relieve or gain control of your stress.
One of my own favourite ways to practice self-care is by enjoying a pamper night: cosy pyjamas, a bar of chocolate, my favourite movie and face mask included. If you’re all for this type of night too, then you’ll love the Institut Esthederm Intensive Purifying Mask. Its rich clay formula effectively purifies skin to address breakouts, blackheads and oiliness, while its smooth, non-drying texture and subtle sweet aroma allows you to sit back and relax as you enjoy a pamper session. But that doesn’t mean the mask is kicked back, relaxed and not working; it’s powered by a 25% dose of kaolin clay to regulate sebum production, unclog and tighten pores, and visibly reduce the look of blemishes, which is just what you need when stress results in an oilier, spot-prone complexion.
4. Redness And Flushing
How To Calm Red, Flushed Skin:
• Opt for cool water when cleansing and showering.
• Take care when using known irritants such as artificial fragrances, physical exfoliants, etc.
• Try to work out if food or drink triggers your skin redness.
• Always use a very high broad-spectrum sunscreen and take care when in the sun.
My Top Recommendation: For some people, a moment of panic can cause redness or rashes that are relatively short-lived – it’s almost like turning red-faced when we’re embarrassed. But sometimes, stressful lifestyles can cause longer-lasting redness. In fact, rosacea flare-ups can be linked to or worsened by stress.
My top recommendation for this stressed skin symptom is Uriage’s Roseliane CC Cream SPF50+. What really makes it stand out is that it’s been deemed the first SPF 50+ skincare product to care for rosacea-prone complexions, which ensures makeup-standard tinted coverage.
Perfect for fair complexions that are prone to redness, it evens out your tone and conceals redness. Featuring two clever patents, the formula not only masks the look of redness, but it also soothes and calms the complexion. Uriage’s naturally cooling Thermal Water soothes, moisturises and protects the skin, while an innovative complex reinforces the skin barrier and regulates the immune barrier to soothe and comfort skin. And of course, skin is protected against harmful and redness-inducing solar rays, thanks to its very high SPF defence.
5. Flare-Ups On Your Face and Body
How To Manage Flare-Ups:
• Find targeted treatment for your particular skin condition.
• Follow a strict skincare routine with products that do not risk further irritation.
• Look for skin-soothing, hydrating ingredients.
• Keep an eye out for fragrance-free, non-irritating skincare.
• Be cautious about external aggressors – e.g. hot water, itchy clothing, etc.
• Continue to care for your skin even after flare-ups to minimise future irritation.
My Top Recommendation: Of course, it’s always important to look for a formula or skincare range that’s made for the exact type of flare-up you suffer from, but one of my top recommendations for extra dry skin or eczema is La Roche-Posay’s soothing balm. Specially designed for dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin, La Roche-Posay’s Lipikar Baume is incredibly comforting and skin-relieving. It offers instant soothing relief and even boasts an anti-scratching, anti-flare-up formula that’s ideal for those moments when you want to itch sensitive areas. And although it’s hard, scratching is the last thing you should be doing! Not only can this run the risk of infection, but it can irritate the skin further and prolong the flare-up. So, you’ll want to keep this calming balm within reach during those moments when you want to give into temptation and scratch.
Offering 48-hour hydration, the Lipikar balm limits the frequency of flare-ups as it works to rebalance the skin’s microbiome, while added niacinamide, glycerin and a 20% dose of shea butter helps to cool, calm and hydrate. And it wouldn’t be a La Roche-Posay formula without their iconic Thermal Spring Water, which is world-renowned thanks to its skin-quenching, soothing and anti-irritating powers.
6. Signs of Ageing and Fatigue
How To Address Signs of Ageing and Fatigue:
• Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.
• Moisturise regularly.
• Focus on targeted skincare and skincare ingredients for your specific skin ageing concerns.
My Top Recommendation: Okay, I’ll admit that I knew Vichy’s Mineral 89 Probiotic Fractions Serum had to make its way into this edit, but the question was, where should it go? It targets so many of the common concerns for stressed skin! But as it’s specially made for stressed complexions, it’s ultimately made it into my anti-ageing and anti-fatigue section.
Designed for acutely stressed skin, Vichy’s probiotic facial serum joins the Mineral 89 collection to support the repair of damaged skin barriers. The fragrance-free, hypoallergenic formula strengthens skin and protects against skin stressors caused by our environment and lifestyles; it does this using an impressive blend of probiotic fractions, 4% niacinamide, antioxidant vitamins and Vichy’s iconic Thermal Water. Not only does this effective serum speed up skin’s recovery time, but it also tackles dullness, elasticity, stress lines and overall radiance – it gives a revitalising and energising boost that stressed and fatigued skin needs.