Stress + skin = disaster. While there’s been a good amount of research on how stress affects our overall health, there’s less talk about how it impacts skin. Even if you can’t see the effects, like a breakout, it causes dehydration, which is damaging to skin. Unmanaged stress can lead to health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and skin issues such as blemishes, redness, excessive dryness, and acne.
As joyful as the holiday season can be—full of gatherings, travel, parties, and time off work—it can also be stressful. We tend to deviate from our usual routines, eat different foods (often heavier ones), and drink more alcohol. Not to mention, finding the perfect gifts for everyone on our list can be anxiety-inducing. A little bit of planning can help you maintain your cool this holiday season.
– Prepare by getting two facials in November or give yourself a quickie one at home (see below for DIY instructions). Keep up on your normal skincare routine and change out your products to support your skin through the seasonal change and the stress. Carving out self-care time becomes especially important during the often-demanding holidays. Step out for some fresh air and/or go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Get or give yourself a manicure. Treat yourself to a massage. These little moments go a long way.
– Start new traditions. If gift-giving has become too emotionally and/or financially taxing, find new ways to show you care. Get creative so you don’t beak the bank or your sanity. Organize a gift exchange so that everyone participating only buys a gift for one person. Bake something or make a craft. Or simply spend an evening with family and friends. Time and memories are the most precious gifts you can give. I encourage you to think outside the box and start new traditions that aren’t centered around “things.”
– Stay hydrated! Sweets, alcohol, stress, and lack of sleep can all dehydrate you and your skin, so be sure to drink plenty of water.
– The changing weather can harsh on skin. Try switching to more nourishing products. If you use the face oil layer a cream on top. Use creamy, non-foaming cleansers. Look for ingredients that are rich in essential fatty acids, such as rosehip oil, jojoba oil, and evening primrose oil.
– Make a stress-reducing toner mist by combining 3 cups of water with one bag of rooibos tea, 1 bag of green tea, a teaspoon of any organic citrus peel or apple slice. Simmer until it reduces to half. Once cooled, pour into a spray bottle and store in the refrigerator.
– Mist face with toner.
– Use a creamy cleanser, such as Sumbody’s Milky Rich Goat Milk Cleanser. Start at your décolleté using your ring and middle finger in upward circular motions all the way to your forehead. Lightly splash with warm water to rinse and pat dry.
– To exfoliate, mix some powdered exfoliant with your cleanser and repeat the or use a cleanser/exfoliant combo, such as Sumbody’s Manna Cell-Renewing Cleanser & Shower Mask, and repeat the process above. Alternatively, you combine a pea-sized amount of powdered exfoliant in your hands with a spritz of toner and follow the steps above.
– Mix your powdered mask with water and apply from the neck up. I recommend using a deep-pore-cleansing mask, such as Sumbody’s Deep Sea Decongesting Mud Mask at least once a week. In between, use mask that will feed and nurture your skin, such as Sumbody’s Get Cultured Vegan Probiotic Mask. Apply the mask using a fan brush or your fingers and then hop in the shower. This will steam your mask on just as a professional esthetician would do during a facial. The benefits of this are profound. Rinse the mask off at the end of your shower and pat dry.
– Mist your face with toner again and use a cotton ball or cosmetic rounds to remove it
– Apply serum, if desired.
– Using upward circular motions, gently massage in facial oil for 2-5 minutes. If your skin soaks the oil in and you lose the glide, add more oil and continue massaging. Follow with a cream-based moisturizer if you’re experiencing extreme dryness.