2020 has undoubtedly been a year of stress. With so much uncertainty facing us it's been a very tough time. The worry of losing loved ones, social distancing, has led to people feeling isolated and lonely which in turn increases stress and anxiety.
Image credit WonderwallSg
When I returned to work back in August, there had been a significant surge in acne breakouts and strange rashes. Clients who have good skincare routines and clear skin were suddenly faced with a term no one had ever heard before, 'maskne'.
Maskne' is a term coined to describe mask-induced acne and rashes. This happens when the area beneath a mask becomes very warm and moist throughout the day, creating a build-up of bacteria, sweat and bacteria - the perfect environment for blemishes to develop.
I started to suffer myself but I wasn't wearing masks all that often and the only thing I could put it down to was that I felt on edge constantly because I was so worried about what would happen to the business, home schooling was also proving a challenge.
High cortisol levels prompt the skin's sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (oil). The additional oil clogs the pores leading to the development of inflammation and bacteria– resulting in acne.
Chronic stress leads to constant increased levels of these hormones and can have a negative effect on your skin health. Additionally, psychological conditions cause increased internal inflammation. Not only that but it can affect Oestrogen/progesterone – you need a good level of progesterone to balance out the effects of oestrogen. Cortisol can impact the production of progesterone, leaving higher levels of oestrogen in your system. Low levels of progesterone can lead to migraines and hot flashes. Continued imbalance can have a huge effect on our skin from breakouts to premature ageing and dryness.
Whilst acne can occur for many reasons it's important to understand what our bodies are trying to tell us. My body was telling me that I was living in fight flight mode and I was exhausted.
I had to get my skin under control so I switched up my skincare routine to Clinicare Pure, began exercising more and tried to stop worrying about the things I couldn't control.
7 months in and my skin is much better. (Contact us for some samples)
Where there is an imbalance it is important to try and restore this balance.
Diet- maintain a balanced health diet and speak to a nutritionist for advice if you are concerned. Probiotics and green tea are thought to help reduce cortisol levels.
A bad night’s sleep or more prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. I've started using Eve Taylor's Sleep Well aromatherapy gel and I'm falling asleep much quicker now.
I learnt that no matter the situation or how bad things feel take time out of your day to focus on your breathing. Breathing is seriously underrated.
Try this short breathing exercise
Couple your breathing exercises with one of the Luna Heated eye masks and you'll feel like you're floating (available in salon)
Try some gua sha. This ancient technique aids in "break[ing] down the tension and increas[ing] blood flow in facial muscles, which boosts skin health by decreasing inflammation. We can teach you some simple techniques.
Do something you love. At times of stress I sing or go for a run- anything where you can increase endorphins.
Take some time for you, light some candles (Fire Nest do a beautiful meditation and sleep candle https://www.firenestcandles.com/ )
Try some mindfulness or yoga techniques. Run a bath. Whatever it is take some time out even if it is just 15 minutes.
Finally don't feel alone, our skin consultations can be done online and we can help you to better understand what is going on with your skin and the best products to begin treating.
We would love to hear your lockdown stories, ways you have coped with stress and of course send your ideas for our next blog post.