What exactly is anti-stress skin care? And is it something that anyone and everyone that's feeling stressed should be using?
Stress is at an all-time high and carrying around all this stress affects our body in so many ways. It causes fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, acne, increased picking, slowed healing, dry, dull skin, and much more. Anti-stress skin care will not fix stress but the idea behind it is great. They are products designed to make you pause and take care of yourself, to focus on something calming and soothing and in doing so better control your stress.
How does something like anti-stress skin care work?
Often the anti-stress skin care includes calming fragrances to help relax you when you use them. There are studies to show some smells do relax people but unfortunately, when they are in skin care they can be irritating, particularly to stressed-out skin.
The way I like to enjoy a relaxing fragrance is by lighting a candle rather than in my skincare. Ellis Brooklyn candles are my favorite.
What are the signs that stress is taking a toll on the skin, and what can we do to help our skin feel better in light of all that? Does it start with handling the stress, or should we directly look at the skin?
The most important step in controlling stress is getting enough sleep. Start there as we can cope with so much more when we are well-rested. Little steps to take to help with sleep hygiene include: limiting caffeine intake after Noon, getting into bed at the same time every night (I recommend setting an alarm on your phone with a 15-minute reminder before you go to bed), sleep in a cold, dark room and turn off your devices! Once you are getting more sleep, then try to exercise, meditate, eat healthily, and/or improve your skin care regimen if that feels good to you and does not increase your stress levels by making you feel like you have more to do.
Do you have any recommendations for anti-stress skin care products, or what ingredients/benefits should someone look for in an anti-stress product?
My recommendation is to not spend money on anti-stress skin care products specifically but focus on products for sensitive skin or specially formulated to calm skin and strengthen the skin barrier. Much like you need TLC to deal with stress, your skin needs TLC as well. Look for ingredients like squalane and glycerin to hydrate, and niacinamide, and Centella Asiatica to calm. Often, when you are stressed your skin is dehydrated and dull. You can try gentle exfoliation with glycolic acid or a charcoal mask to brighten it. These treatments have a lower risk of irritation than physical exfoliation or tretinoin.
Meet the author: Board-certified and practicing dermatologist, Dr. Heather D. Rogers, MD, is the founder of Doctor Rogers Skin Care and Modern Dermatology in Seattle, Washington. She studied at Stanford, University of Washington School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. She lectures nationally, is well published, and an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology. Highly respected among the skin care community, Dr. Rogers has been annually named “Top 1% of Most Honored Doctors in the US” by Castle Connolly.