Have you noticed that during stressful times you tend to break out more? Or that your skin is more sensitive to products? "Stress or anxiety sets off physiological reactions in your body that manifest in a number of ways on our skin, including breakouts, rashes, hives and eczema or psoriasis flareups," explains Cindy Kim, cofounder of Silver Mirror Facial Bar in New York.
The good news is that there are a number of products that can help. We asked three experts to share their top picks according to your concern, but all of them noted that in addition to using the right products, it’s important to find ways to manage your stress (through things like meditation, yoga, going to the gym, meeting up with friends or working with a psychologist) for long-term benefits.
"One of the major stress signals, cortisol, messages to the skin to increase oil production, often leading to acne. A great ingredient that can combat these acne-inducing messages is adapalene. Adapalene is a third-generation retinoid that can decrease oil production and regulate skin cells to prevent acne pimples," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD at Mount Sinai Department of Dermatology and Schweiger Dermatology Group.
"Stress causes inflammation and if you have underlying skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, that inflammation can cause a flare-up,” explains Morgan Rabach, a board-certified dermatologist at LM Medical in New York. “I always tell my patients to go back to the basics when this happens. Reduce any aggressors and use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain any strong fragrances or surfactants."
Redness and rashes
"Anxiety can also trigger neuropeptides, which leave your skin red and itchy, and cause T-cells to overreact, which can cause flakiness or scaling of the skin," says Kim. "I swear by this antioxidant serum for everything. It has a blend of soothing botanical ingredients, zinc sulfate and kojic acid to really clear and calm skin." (Ed note: It's a favorite among many derms as well. Luckily, we can get it over-the-counter through Dermstore's newly rebranded site.)