There are many skin conditions to which stress can affect and thus worsen. Among them dryness, acne, rosacea, eczema, skins sensitivity, redness, wrinkles, and you name it… The way stress affects them is that when we are tense, our brain releases cortisol - a stress hormone, that releases oil glands, leading to breakouts. Stress also dilates blood vessels, which in addition can cause redness. The skin becomes dehydrated, sensitive, and more susceptible to damage and premature aging. Not such fun fact is that the levels of our skin's collagen start to decline after we hit age 20, but stress can additionally contribute. But, don’t be disappointed now, because (not so far from us) there are wonderful people who have found a cure for everything.
When stress “attacks”, everyone's skin responds differently, so the first step is to take note of how your face reacts during the first two weeks surrounding stress.
For those whose skin reacts with acne and breakouts, the key is exfoliating to unclog pores that can harbor bacteria. Don’t use harsh scrub exfoliants, as they can cause further redness. Instead use products that contain lactic acid, which in return will boost the skin's hydration while removing the dead skin cells. Then continue with an oil-absorbing kaolin clay mask. Another treatment is an antioxidant-rich glycolic acid peel, as it can kill acne-promoting bacteria underneath the skin without causing dryness or irritation.
If your skin goes to the other extreme with dryness, flaking, peeling, redness, sensitivity, rosacea, or eczema, use products with ceramides and hyaluronic acid. These can absorb the water and surround each dead skin cell with lipids, making the cell more able to hang on to water. Another temporary skin soother is a 20-minute bath that's not very hot before you apply a moisturizer, it will give the skin immediate hydration.
For fine lines and saggy skin, you’ll have to use products that contain vitamin C which in return can fight back against free radicals and environmental damage.