De-Stress Your Face
Calm and clear your complexion with this troubleshooting guide.
"When you're under stress, your brain sends messages to the adrenal gland, which releases hormones that turn up oil production in the skin," says Jeanette Graf, MD, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. "This excess oil interacts with your skin's natural bacteria, resulting in acne."
Look for products that cut oil, like a glycolic acid-based wash. Your diet can also leave its mark on your face. "Foods high in fat or refined sugar make the inflammatory reaction even worse," Dr. Graf says.
A smart move when you're under pressure: Hit the gym. "The endorphins that exercise releases can decrease stress hormones in your body," Dr. Graf explains.
Got a looming work deadline? "Even the tiniest bit of stress can cause blood vessels in your face to open up, turning your complexion flushed," says Richard Fried, MD, a dermatologist in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Instead of panicking—which only revs up the response—take a deep breath to calm your nervous system, Dr. Fried recommends. Yoga and meditation are also great.
Topically, try products with ingredients like licorice or chromolume—found in Sadick Dermatology Group PM Rejuvenating Cream ($38; sephora.com)—to help calm your skin.
While one crazy-chaotic day won't bring on wrinkles, being super-stressed constantly may speed up signs of aging. "Under pressure, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that attacks the collagen responsible for keeping your skin firm," Dr. Fried says.
A solution your whole body can benefit from: Catch some more zzz's. "When you sleep, your body releases melatonin, a hormone that offsets the release of cortisol," Dr. Fried says.
Of course, applying wrinkle-preventing products with SPF (try Vichy Reti-C Intensive Corrective Care SPF 15, $43; vichyusa.com) can't hurt.