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Stress and Skin Relationship

How does stress affects our skin

It is surprising how our brain is connected to our skin. When we are embarrassed, we blush. When in pain, the skin tone changes and when we are under stress, skin manifests itself in a breakout, eczema, rosacea and other skin conditions.

When in stress, our body overproduces cortisol- a "stress hormone". Too much cortisol causes havoc in the body and skin, depleting the skin of the three main skin guards- water, oil and microbiomes.

Oils (lipids and ceramides) - form a protective layer of the skin or a barrier and are found in the outermost layers of the skin. These also lock and retain moisture inside the skin. When under stress, the production of lipids and ceramides slow down, creating an impaired skin barrier leading to dry, rough, thin and sensitised skin.

At the same time, cortisol can make an adverse reaction- overproduction of sebum (oils) and manifests itself in acne.

Does stress make skin more reactive and sensitive?

A quick surge of stress can be a good thing- bringing glow onto the skin and speeding up collagen and elastin production for wound repair. Continuing stress can bring about negative skin changes, including sensitivity and overactive skin.

Stress hormone "cortisol" depletes the skin of water, oils and microbiomes. All of the above play a vital role in protecting the skin and without which skin's immune system become exposed to external and internal aggressors.

Imagine stripping the soil of all the nutrients. It’s the same for the skin.

What potentially irritating ingredients should you eliminate from your skincare while rebuilding the skin barrier?

When the skin barrier is impaired, apply less is more rule. That's where minimalism and simplicity come in handy. Exposing sensitised skin to more products with active ingredients or too many ingredients make the issue worse.

Avoiding barrier-degrading ingredients such as strong exfoliants (glycolic, salicylic and kojic acids) are recommended. Retinoids (such as Retinol and other Vitamin A derivatives) are common irritants for overactive skin.

Essential Oils can also cause a reaction and it is best to be avoided for highly sensitised skin.

To rebuild and maintain a healthy skin barrier look after barrier boosting ingredients such as skin Prebiotics, Botanical Oils high in EFAs (essential fatty acids), Hyaluronic acid, high-quality SPF and ceramides.

I recommend:

Blueberry & Blue Tansy Face Oil - Contains skin healing nutrients, dramatically calms the skin, reduces redness and inflammation. Contains Wheat Germ Oil high in EFA (essential fatty acids)

Sea Buckthorn & Algae Face Oil- contains a balanced ratio of EFA and phytosterols to give new energy to dry and tired skin while the high concentration of omega 7 and carotene strengthen the skin barrier.

Rescue Cream- A complex skin treatment formula designed to improve skin barrier protection. Contains probiotics and Beta-Glucan (oat extract)+ oat oil.

Needless to say, to heal stressed skin, one needs to address the stress.

There is no magic skincare product that can fix stressed skin, but getting to the root of the stress and managing it, will concur many skin issues including sensitive skin.

Meditation, mindful breathing, self-care rituals, outdoors, healthy diet are some of the activities that help decrease cortisol levels and stress.

Written for Björk & Berries

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