How to Manage the Effects of Stress on Your Skin

Think about it: How far would you go to avoid loss- loss of health, loss of beauty, loss of certainty? There’s no doubt that we are living in very uncertain times, and all that worry is taking a toll, not just on your mental health, but also on your physical health, which absolutely shows in your skin. When you are confronted with constant anxiety, it causes a change in cortisol levels and your habits and expressions, all of which affects how you age. Without even realizing it you furrow your brows or constantly clench your jaws, which changes the shape of your face and the way fine lines and wrinkles form. No matter the circumstances, I recommend a simple facial exercise you can do anytime to minimize the stress aging accelerator and have a positive impact on both your mood and your skin health.

Image credit: New York Times

Practice Good Facial Posture

Negative facial expressions, like frowning or furrowing your brows, is a mostly subconscious action that oftentimes you do not even know you are doing. It is also a powerful driver of fine lines and wrinkles. Here is an exercise to strengthen positive emotions through good facial posture. It is a way you can help any treatment you do work better and last longer and, in some cases, even avoid the need for treatments at all.

  1. Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath in and out, feeling your face relax as you exhale.
  2. Slowly go to a big full smile and as you do, you will feel your ears lift. Do this a few times, focusing on how the ears move and lift with the face as you smile.
  3. Now try moving your ears using those same muscles, but without moving your mouth. Once you identify those muscles, do the ear lifts in sets of three, three times a day.

Doing this exercise regularly, prevents you from frowning since you can only move in one direction at a time (the laws of physics are so beautiful!), lifts your jawline, and, most importantly, makes you feel happy! When you see yourself smiling, you can’t help but have a more positive outlook.


Redirect Negative Expressions

Neuromodulators like Botox, Dysport, Xeomin and Jeuveau and fillers when used correctly, redirect energy from negative to positive and help prevent stress-related aging. Add in great skin care products and you’ll be well on your way to reversing course on stress. For instance, your forehead muscle, called the frontalis is a very large and powerful muscle that acts to lift your brows which, in turn, helps keep your eyelids open so you can feel awake, alert and present, all very positive looks and feelings. It’s important to be able to use this muscle when you want or need. If we “freeze” it your brows will drop and you will feel more tired and look older as well. This is why, rather than eliminating the ability to move your forehead, instead I selectively limit the ability of the surrounding muscles that you use to make negative emotions like brow furrowing, clenching, or frowning. The result is a natural lift that then helps soften forehead lines without taking away movement. We can then use retinols to improve collagen which will soften or erase wrinkles, without erasing expression.

Create Positive Moments

For better or for worse, emotions and feelings like happiness, gratitude, pain, sorrow and stress all affect your skin differently and can each have a powerful impact on how your face and skin ages. Over the last year, the uncertainty of our lives has led many people to disrupt their usual routines or habits. Many are exercising less, eating too much “comfort food, not getting enough sleep, and not following regular daily skincare routines.

Science has proven that we influence our own internal emotions by our facial expressions. If we do something that makes us happy, it will show on our faces, which in turn will put us in a better mood. Watch a funny movie, listen to a happy song, get some fresh air, start exercising regularly, pick up a hobby, stick to your skin care routine—these little mood boosts can have a major impact on how you feel and how you look.

Your Worry-Free Skin Routine

Follow my recommendation of products you can use at home to fight the uncertainty of aging

Facial Silk Sunscreen

“People are spending a lot more time outdoors, and while I want you to go outside and take long walks, sunscreen is a must. A zinc-based SPF will protect you from UVA and UVB rays and is safe for sensitive skin”.

  • Made with titanium dioxide and 14% zinc oxide in a silky smooth cream texture 
  • Contains 10% Squalane and Barrier Lipids to nourish and hydrate
  • Formulated with melanin, a naturally occurring pigment in the skin, to provide antioxidant protection and impart a subtle beige tint that makes it an ideal makeup primer
  • Enhanced with Vitamins C & E and Ferulic Ester to guard against pollution and free radical damage

Dew Drop Ultra

“With the seasons changing and the air getting drier, your moisture levels and skin barrier may be out of balance. Your skin barrier is important because it keeps hydration in and bacteria and pollutants out, so you need to make sure you are reinforcing it and providing your skin with lots of hydration.”

  • Hydrates with Squalane and Bisabolol
  • Replenishes skin’s natural moisture barrier with Ceramides, Fatty Acids, and Cholesterol
  • Rich gel texture is fragrance-free, solvent-free, and preservative-free

Retinol Level 2

“When you are stressed, your regular skin functions—like cell turnover—can be thrown off course. Retinol is a wonderful ingredient to help exfoliate and normalize cell turnover, getting rid of dead surface skin cells to reveal fresh, new ones below. I like layering Dew Drop Ultra on top of Retinol 2 at night to keep skin hydrated. If you have sensitive skin, you can also apply Dew Drop Ultra before Retinol 2 to minimize irritation and dryness".

  • Deep wrinkle cream with 0.5% Retinol to stimulate cellular regeneration and collagen and elastin production.
  • Includes Vitamin C & E encapsulated in a proprietary Trans-Epidermal Carrier to maximize Retinol’s anti-aging benefits
  • Daily anti-aging serum dramatically reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as hyperpigmentation and uneven texture.

 

Photo by Peter Hurley.