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Young woman with stressed out skin

Stressed Out Skin: How to Prevent and Recover

Our skin is not just the most essential “outfit” we wear–in fact, it does a lot to keep our whole bodies healthy. Let’s face it–due to election season and the pandemic, we’ve all been under more stress than normal. During normal times busy work schedules and family activities outside the home often make us wish we could spend more time at home. But now I think we can all agree that staying home more sometimes comes with bad habits that can lead to stressed out skin symptoms like breakouts and other annoying skin issues.

Are masks really causing “maskne?” Or is more stressed out skin the real culprit?

Many people are complaining about “maskne” from wearing masks, but the truth is that there are other causes of breakouts or skin issues related to sheltering in place.

Breakouts, skin rashes, and other common skin issues usually happen because the body’s either not getting the right nutrients on the inside, or because it’s exposed to pollutants or other toxicants in our environments. 

Having to stay home more often for many has led to eating more take-out, sometimes drinking too much alcohol, and giving into sugar cravings more than we usually would. Without enough vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables, cells don’t get the nutrients they need to form and function properly. I always like to say, “healthy cells are pretty cells!” So remember to add a variety of brightly colored, fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains to your daily diet. This will ensure that you’re getting the right nutrients to build healthy skin from the inside out.

Disturbed sleep is another side effect of the stressful times we live in, and can also lead to symptoms of stressed out skin like puffiness, lackluster tone, and breakouts. I recommend adding soothing things like a lavender-filled sachet or eye pillow to your bedtime routine to help you relax.

Alyssa Rae Taglia and Rachael Pontillo talking stressed out skin on Good Morning CT at Nine.

More ways spending more time indoors is causing stressed out skin…

Spending too much time indoors can be very problematic for the skin. In many cases, indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air due to things like synthetic fragrances in detergents, air fresheners, and candles. And also toxic particles from dirty vents, and even mold. Indoor pollution introduces free radicals to the skin, which can contribute to breakouts, and also prematurely age the skin. Getting outdoors for 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

Breathing in fresh air and getting sunlight this time of year is also important to help manage stress, and stress-related skin issues.

The other thing to be aware of is the effects of screen time on the skin. Computer and mobile device screens emit High Energy Visible (HEV) light–commonly known as “blue light”–which is also dangerous to the skin. Blue light rays can penetrate the skin and cause damage similar to UV rays from the sun, which can lead to dark spots, breakouts for some, and premature skin aging due to the breakdown of collagen. This also increases oxidative stress to the skin. It’s really important to take frequent screen breaks, and make sure the screen is at an appropriate distance from the face. Blue light screen filters can help too.

What can we do topically to relieve stressed out skin?

It’s all about the antioxidants. Using skincare that’s rich with antioxidants is one of the best ways to combat topical stress to the skin from things like mask friction, polluted indoor air, and blue light from screens. 

Luckily, Nature gives us antioxidant-rich oils like pomegranate seed, pumpkin seed, and cranberry seed oil, which you can blend together in equal parts to create a simple DIY serum. These oils are easily absorbed by the skin, are very nourishing, and actually help the skin repel and recover from the damaging blue light from screens and mask wearing. Apply this in the morning, and at night to the face and neck.

Watch my recent “Hints and hacks to refresh your skin while masking and sheltering in place” segment on ABC’s Good Morning Washington:

Melanie Hastings and Rachael Pontillo talking stressed out skin on ABC7's Good Morning Washington.

Want to learn how to create your own customized facial oil serum?

Sign up for my free Boutique Skincare Basics mini-course

My free Boutique Skincare Basics mini-course teaches you just that–how to choose the right oils for your skin type, and blend them together into a high quality, antioxidant-rich serum–perfect for stressed out skin. You’ll also learn how to craft your own DIY whipped facial butter.

Click HERE to sign up for this free skincare class today!

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