Friday, 8 November 2013

Don't let your skin get all stressed out

Follow these handy tips for flawless skin

Worry and anxiety can wreak havoc on our skin, says anti-ageing expert and Harley Street specialist LESLEY REYNOLDS, here's how to tackle those signs of stress

IT'S no secret that stress can damage your health and emotional well-being but did you know it can also wreak havoc with your looks?
In fact the condition of your complexion is a very good barometer of the level of stress you're under.
Everyone's skin reacts differently but dehydration, dullness, breakouts and uneven skin tone are all signs your skin could be having a mini breakdown. Most of my patients are surprised when I tell them that stress is second only to the sun in terms of the damage it can do to the skin.

When you are under pressure the body produces the hormone adrenaline which can easily upset the balance of all the other hormones.

This can cause sweating and excess oil production as well as throwing the immune system into overdrive.

It can even make a dormant skin condition such as acne, eczema or psoriasis flare up.

Stress can also accelerate the ageing process as we tend to frown and squint a lot more when we're anxious and this can speed up the development of wrinkles.

Long-term worries can also slow the production of collagen and elastin and after the age of 45 this can result in sagging.

Fortunately many leading beauty brands are tackling this problem by developing products which promise to fight the signs of stress.

Kiehl's found during its latest research that most women mistakenly think they are suffering from sensitive skin rather than the effects of stress.

Its latest launch, Kiehl's Skin Rescuer Stress Minimising Daily Hydrator, £29.50 ( is formulated with calming camomile and will help protect the skin from showing the impact of daily worries.

There are also many practical things you can do to reduce overall stress which will benefit your skin at the same time.


Stress is the main cause of insomnia so try to unwind before hitting the sheets. Relax in a warm bath with a lavender oil such as Dr Hauschka's Lavender Calming Bath Essence, .

Lavender is not only soothing but can also increase feelings of clarity. A light misting of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, , which contains lavender and camomile, will help you drop off but before you do, apply a good night cream.

Darphin's new Ideal Resource Overnight Cream,  is great for stressed skin.

It contains neroli to encourage your brain to relax and switch off and nourishing ingredients so your skin looks radiant when you wake up.


Use a cleanser for sensitive skin and try a gentle weekly exfoliator to lift dull, dead skin cells.

Research shows that creams and serums containing plant stem cells can stimulate the production of new elastin and slow down collagen breakdown, perfect for stressed skin.

Look for skincare which contains natural ingredients as the products tend to be less harsh. Also try a facial oil which can penetrate deeply into the skin, calming and hydrating all skin types.

 My stress-busting skin prescription is:

Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Cleansing Water, £9.999(N2,5000)  is formulated for dry and dehydrated skin and helps maintain moisture levels.

HSS Anti-Ageing Serum, £50(N12,500) is a concentrated skin rejuvenator which helps rebuild collagen.

Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion,  contains ginkgo leaves which are full of antioxidants and will help soothe skin.

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion,  contains camomile to soothe skin and coconut to moisturise.

Origins Plantscription Youth Renewing Face Oil, contains evening primrose oil which is good for helping to clear up breakouts.

Novexpert Repulp Mask, treats stressed skin in 10 minutes. The fast-acting treatment contains seaweed to stimulate collagen and hyaluronic acid for an immediate plumping effect.


If you feel your skin needs additional support then a dermatologist can prescribe a course of treatments or medication to help. Procedures which stimulate collagen, photo rejuvenation and therapeutic massage facials will all help stressed skin. Here are my recommendations:

IPL (intense pulsed light) can immediately improve skin tone by triggering the skin's natural healing process. This encourages collagen production which leads to firmer, smoother skin. You'll need a course of four to six treatments two weeks apart and results will last for up to 18 months. From £300 (N75,000) a course.

HydraFacial Skin Detox with Dermalux LED uses vacuum suction to remove toxins before the skin is bathed in rejuvenating serums. LED light therapy is then used to wake up sluggish skin cells and stimulate the lymphatic system.
1 Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. This will help release endorphins which can banish anxiety as well as boosting circulation to the skin.
2 Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
3 Learn to unwind by doing something for yourself. Read a book or try yoga and deep breathing exercises.
4 Say no sometimes. Set yourself limits so you're not trying to do everything for everyone all the time.
5 Be realistic about your goals. Don't try to be perfect in everything you do.
6 Snack on foods that are good for your complexion such as raw fruits and vegetables and almonds.
7 Eat foods high in vitamin C including oranges, kiwi, pineapple and mango. A German study found that this vitamin helps reduce stress and return blood pressure to normal levels after a stressful situation and also boosts the immune system.
8 Hands-on therapies such as reiki and aromatherapy can help you to relax.
9 Banish negative thoughts and think positively. Stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future and instead try to visualise good things happening for you.
10 Listen to some soothing music. Slow-paced numbers can help to lower the heart rate and blood pressure.

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