Beauty

7 ways to pamper and de-stress your skin

Is stress leaving your skin looking a little worse for wear with woes like acne, inflammation, dullness and premature ageing? Read on for seven ways to pamper and de-stress your skin, just in time for International Women’s Day

how to pamper and de-stress your skin story

Image: Corbis

#1 Calm those face muscles
Day-to-day stress, even just mild emotional stressors that get you frowning or anxious, can etch some permanent worry lines in your face. A good way to start is being more aware of your facial movements while you work. Something as simple as having a mirror by your screen can help you make a more conscientious effort to relax your face muscles when you catch a glimpse of yourself frowning.

#2 Take a break from work
If you’re pampering yourself, why not go all out and remove the main stressors from your life for a while? Whether you need a break from work or the chaos at home, take some time away to treat yourself. Our bodies produce more of a hormone called cortisol when we’re stressed, which can play a part in breaking down collagen, meaning more wrinkles in the long run. Taking a break from stress isn’t just good for your health in general. Your skin will thank you too. 

#3 Get rid of dead skin cells
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Stress can cause a buildup of dead skin cells, making your skin look dull and tired. When you’re stressed, your skin will need a little help sloughing off those dead cells, so keep up with regular exfoliation, two to three times a week. I prefer less abrasive chemical exfoliators like Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Overnight Anti-Aging Peel which uses Alpha/beta Hydroxy Acid for a gentle peel, followed by a calming overnight mask. It does all the work while I sleep, leaving me with smoother and brighter skin in the morning.

#4 Book a calming facial
If your skin is feeling inflamed, sensitive, or just flaring up due to stress, a soothing facial will help you kickstart the process of de-stressing your skin. Dermalogica has a great face-mapping consultation followed by a customised treatment to address the specific issues that are causing your skin the most stress. My skin at the time was unusually stressed out and inflamed, so I was recommended the Ultracalming Facial treatment. The facial has no extraction and is suitable for sensitive skin, and I walked out of the treatment with my skin feeling significantly softer, smoother and calm.

#5 Get enough sleep
The term beauty sleep exists for good reason. A lack of sleep doesn’t just give you dark eye circles, it can result in premature ageing, puffiness, dullness and inflammation. Our skin uses sleep to recharge and shed dead cells, as well as rebalance hydration levels. It makes sense then that it’s easy for someone to tell that you look tired when you’re not getting enough sleep. Of course, skincare and makeup can mask some of this tiredness, but it’s important to get about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. 

#6 Avoid junk food
Fried and processed foods as well as too much sugar are all bad for our bodies, skin included. While this isn’t new information, many of us have a hard time avoiding these foods everyday. If you’re having a particularly bad time with your skin (think acne, inflammation, or dehydration), it’s time to take a closer look at your diet. Make a concerted effort to eliminate processed sugar from your diet and cut down on simple carbohydrates, sticking to low glycemic index foods instead. Some people might also have an allergy to dairy that they might not be aware of, and could benefit from cutting down on dairy. If you’ve got dehydrated skin, try some of these foods that will help your skin out.

#7 Use a face mask
If you’re not someone who uses face masks regularly (or even at all), it’s definitely time to start. Regular masking does wonders for keeping your skin looking its best. Of course, using the right type of mask your skin needs is important too. Avoid using detoxifying or purifying masks too often as those are harsher and can strip your skin of moisture. Sheet masks are easy to collect and try out, and relatively inexpensive so you can experiment until you find one that you love.

There are masks for all sorts of purposes, like hydrating, brightening, soothing, clarifying, cell renewal, strengthening your skin’s protective barrier, and even improving skin texture. Affordable sheet masks are easily available at Sephora, Guardian, Etude House, Watsons, and Sasa. 

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