[By Sophie Goldberg]
We’re approaching the middle mark of 2015, and for some this time of the year may mean chasing a project deadline, or looming exam finals before being let loose to enjoy the summer break! On top of that, your hair seems to be thinning and zits are starting to pop up! Gosh! Beauty is holistic and how we feel on the inside can definitely affect how we look on the outside. When a person is stressed, feels depressed or is anxious, they literally leave tell-tale marks on your appearance. Here are 5 ways how stress is affecting your overall demeanour, and ways to help combat them. No way should you let that negative ‘Qi’ affect your life, girlfriend!
There are a few reasons why the skin appears dull when one is stressed. One reason is neglect of daily care. Good eating habits, exercise and daily beauty regime all went amok as you just can’t be bothered with them. Some even abuse their skin through stress-related behaviours such as scratching, rubbing or hair pulling. A study done found that stress also affects the protective mechanisms of the skin in a negative way, resulting in water loss which affects the skin’s repairing and regenerative abilities. All these things lead to dryness and dullness, with problems such as eczema and dermatitis aggravated.
Solution: As your skin becomes dry and sensitive, what better way to restore its vibrancy than by natural essential oils? Many botanical oils such as Argan and Rosehip have always been used for their healing properties. One example is The Sloane Inc HEAL which contains 100% organic Argan Oil with Geranium. Do not be surprised that although it’s an oil, the way it’s formulated keeps it lightweight and is suitable for all skin types. Perfect as an all-over face hydrator especially when the skin is dry, it can also be used on delicate skin areas such as the under-eye region as well as the lips.
You can also boost your overall general health and emotional well-being by increasing physical activity. The body is tuned in such a way that when we are dealt with a stressful situation, a “fight or flight response” is triggered. However, modern age stress may not be remedied by this response. So what exercise does is it works as a simulator to metabolise the stress hormones and release ‘happy hormones’ such as endorphins. Just as your skin is dull when you’re down, it returns to its calm state when you’re relaxed.
When we are in a stressful situation, the body releases stress hormones, mainly cortisol. Cortisol directly affects our skin by increasing production of oil. Coupled with the already dull skin, this leads to unhealthy skin— aggravating acne break outs and other skin related problems. Even for those not usually affected by acne tend to develop a temporary acne break out due to the increased oil production. The problem is further aggravated for the acne-prone as the presence of other pro-inflammatory stress hormones cause the skin to be more sensitive, and the acne more inflamed and more persistent!
Solution: Do not neglect your usual daily beauty regime, but do avoid harsh soaps as it will only worsen an already sensitive skin. Do not pick at the acne spots as well, as this would lead to further inflammation and scarring. Also, if you already know tough times are approaching, it’s good to plan ahead. Keeping a spot treatment on hand, such as The Sloane Inc Skin Detox, especially for those surprise peek-a-boo zits would be handy! As its name suggests, this neomycin containing detoxifying elixir is the perfect salvation as it fights acne by absorbing oil, reducing inflammation and provides a barricade from further comedones and pimple outbreaks.
Do you sometimes hear that when a person is undergoing a life changing event such as childbirth or major surgery, they may start to have hair-thinning problems? The strands become weak, break easier and hair loss occurs. There are many factors contributing to hair loss, but stress itself may be a primary reason. During a stressful situation, the hair goes into a fall-out phase. This can occur up to 3 months after the stressor. Good news is, once the stressful situation is alleviated, the hair would grow back, usually within the next 6-12 months.
Solution: A balanced diet will do wonders to provide strong and vibrant hair. As you provide your body with nutrients, it helps provide the building blocks to fortify the hair follicle. Ensure your diet is rich in healthy proteins, vitamins, and iron such as fish (salmon, trout), walnuts, spinach and eggs. Skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, strawberries and blueberries also fit the bill, especially when thinking of something to snack on. The Hair Maximizer Program is an effective way to further boost and rejuvenate falling hair and thinning scalps with scientifically proven treatment modalities. Available at The Hair Care & Restoration Centre of The Sloane Clinic @ION, this program utilises Revage 670 Laser, an FDA-approved low-level laser therapy which emits totally pain-free laser energy to stimulate blood flow to your hair follicles. When done together with Revitascalp, the effects are synergistic, thereby promoting thicker and more luscious hair with healthier and stronger hair shafts to boot.
Stress can manifest itself in different ways, including ridging and brittle nails. Some people, when feeling anxious or stressed develop awful habits such as picking at the nails, nail-biting, or constant rubbing. These stress related repetitive actions over time cause the nail plates to become distorted, forming horizontal ridges as they grow. Also when your body is in a state of stress, the nails are at a low-level priority for the body to focus on in terms of healing and rejuvenation, leading to unhealthy nail growth.
Solution: Care for your nails by applying cuticle cream or oils daily. You can also go to a local drugstore to purchase a nail-strengthening polish. For those with nail-biting habits, you could get one that is made specially to deter the habit as in contains a bitter ingredient. When you’re feeling anxious, try to think positive and learn to take control of the stressor. For instance, if going out to a crowded market is an unpleasant chore, get round that with online grocery shopping. If an event does not adapt to your standards, try adapting yourself to the situation. Broaden your perspectives and ask how important will the situation be in a month’s time and whether it’s worth getting upset over. If it is not, then move on and focus your energy elsewhere!
As mentioned earlier, stress may lead to dull, dry and sensitive skin. This contributes to formation of fine lines and wrinkles. But aside from that, when we are feeling down, our facial expression will tend to follow, in that you tend to furrow your eyebrows or turn your mouth downwards. There’s a reason why the lines formed are coined ‘frown lines’. All these lines inadvertently make you look old and haggard.
Solution: Practice mindfulness and meditation. You could even try self-hypnosis which can be done anywhere and at any time. A simple way is to repeat positive mantras such as ‘Grant me peace’, or ‘Keep calm and stay beautiful’! And if you need a little help, it has been found that skin rejuvenation procedures through cosmetic interventions significantly improve a person’s outward persona and appearance. A study done showed that patients treated with muscle relaxing BOTOX®microinjections, not only experienced reduction of their lines and wrinkles in terms of physical appearance, but some patients were reported as feeling less anxious, more relaxed and also more optimistic!
Stamp out your stress today for when we feel more attractive, our emotional and social life is given a boost, and all is well and beautiful!