Love from Lois – Chapter 1
Lets Try to Destress You – and Your Skin will Follow
We have undoubtably fallen into a time of great uncertainty at the moment which is understandably causing us all to feel a huge amount of unease, anxiety and stress. I have had ideas of putting my skin knowledge and beauty industry tips into a blog for years but until now something else has always taken priority leaving this all as nothing more than ideas bouncing around in my head. No matter how much I have got carried away in my thoughts with all of the issues I want to tackle, there has always been one big question mark surrounding it all… where on earth would I start??
After requests for advice that is very relative to our current situation, I have finally found my starting point! Thank you to everyone who has messaged me with their personal topics of concern, every one of them really does deserve their own chapter and I will address them as soon as I can.
But for now, I’m going to focus on the very complex issue of stress. (Gosh even as I’m beginning this paragraph I’ve got that huge question mark appearing in my thoughts again… where on earth do I start with this??) Ok… I’m going to start from the inside out.
One of the most important points I want you to remember about your skin is that is is an ORGAN, and it’s your largest organ at that. In the same way we have all become so much more conscious about the chemicals we are ingesting through our foods, we need to be considering what we are using on our skin. You need to be aware that the way you are treating your skin can have the same kind of harmful effects as mistreating the organs that you cannot see. Stress can have an effect on all of your organs, including your skin.
It is unlikely that anxiety is actually the cause of a skin reaction but the stress that the anxiety causes is more likely to be what is causing the damage. When your body is in a state of stress you produce a hormone called cortisol which has a knock on effect on your skin’s oil production, you produce too much. This can then appear as rashes or even an acne style breakout on your skin as it unbalances your skin’s natural PH.
In my opinion, this particular subject more than any other one requires us to work from the inside out. You are never going to fully tackle your problem skin without addressing the cause, and this particular cause is internal.
First – meditate, meditate, meditate. Meditation will take you into your parasympathetic nervous system that will undoubtably help lower your cortisol levels as your body will not feel the need to create it when in this state. There are too many benefits to mediation to mention here and I am sure I will focus on it a lot more in other chapters, because your mental wellbeing absolutely has a knock on effect on your appearance and it really is something we all should be focusing on. If your mind is settled, calm and happy then you are giving your skin much more of chance to feel the same. Go online, find a guided mediation session that suits you, and spend at least 10 minutes a day practising. It is an investment in yourself and your skin.
Exercise, but not too much of it, can help lower your cortisol levels. Too much exertion can cause you to produce more, so 20-30 minutes of light exercise such as walking or yoga will help.
Get a good nights sleep, your cortisol levels decrease when you are in a deep sleep. Once you start to wake back up your body starts to produce it again so a light, broken sleep isn’t going to help at all. We’ve all read over and over about tips on how to get a good nights sleep so I won’t waste your time on that subject but one extra point to remember is the use of Lavender to help put you in a relaxed state just before bed. Anything from a Lavender bath bomb, body cream or face cream along with Lavender oil in your bedroom are all going to help. Dermalogica do a lovely night time face cream called Sound Sleep Cocoon that, along with aiding your skins natural night time repair behaviour (again another subject that deserves its own chapter) it also contains Lavender which to me is a brilliant idea as it will be right under your nose!
Ok… So above are three things you can be altering to help your overall wellbeing and combat stress. I’m now going to go over a few things you might want to try avoiding and also a few things you might want to start adding into your diet. Sod’s law, the two most important things to avoid are my only two vices!
Caffeine – my little boy said to me a few days ago ‘Mummy, you only drink coffee and wine’ and while that’s not completely true, there’s usually a lot of water thrown in too, one thing he is correct about is my absolute love of ‘real’ coffee, and the stronger the better for me. It’s the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. I walk straight to the machine to turn it on, and have at least 2 cups (which is actually 4 espressos on my machine). However I am lucky enough not to be suffering from any type of stress reaction on my skin. If I was, I would seriously consider reducing my caffeine intake and trying to lower it to zero to really try to balance the scales of my unhappy skin. Try switching to decaf, or start with half decaf half normal and ween yourself off it. Caffeine creates the ‘fight or flight’ response in your body (which I am personally up for because I hit the ground running) but this is consequently going to cause to you to produce that problematic little cortisol hormone that keeps cropping up throughout this chapter. Please don’t forget that caffeine is found in a lot more than just coffee, some fizzy drinks have a huge amount too, which leads on to my next favourite thing…
Sugar, and oh my goodness do I love it, cake, chocolate, biscuits… JUST GIVE IT TO ME! When I am at my most hormonal point of the month I could eat my way through a Cadbury’s factory. Whilst almost everyone I know seems to fancy popping open a bottle of wine when they have been through a stressful or upsetting situation, all I fancy is nice big slice of Battenberg or something similar. There is however a logical explanation for my craving when I am stressed, a quick influx of sugar after something stressful has happened to you can actually lower your cortisol levels. But continuous over indulgence of sugar has the opposite effect and will cause your body to create more. If you have a really sweet tooth like me, just don’t have it in the house. I eat so much sugar when it is in the cupboards. So your real discipline is to just not buy it in the first place and then it won’t be there.
Now let’s get onto some of the things you can add into your diet to help. Supplements such as Vitamin C and drinking Matcha Green Tea will both help lower your levels. Ashwagandha (an Asian herbal supplement) doesn’t actually lower your levels but aids how your body deals with stress so will consequently interrupt the over production. Taking Magnesium can help to regulate your production levels too.
Eating small amounts of natural dark chocolate can also help, but make sure it is one with a very high percentage of cocoa so you are not adding to your sugar intake too much. One other food that can give you a helping hand is bananas (which are also amazing for something else to do with your face that I’m going to focus on in another chapter).
So, that’s the inside of your body covered (hope you’re still awake) – I now want to cover a few points about how to treat your unhappy skin topically. I want your main thought process to be that your skin is exactly that at the moment – unhappy. I won’t spend as much time on this section as I have above because as I already mentioned, when it comes to the issue of stress, it is fixing the stress that is very important. Most people’s knee jerk reaction is to treat breakouts by stripping their skin of all its natural oil to prevent future breakouts. All this is doing though is tipping the PH scales from one side to the other, not putting them into balance. Think CALM, calming your skin is the aim of the game here.
Look at your breakouts, they are red, swollen, inflamed and sore to touch. They need to calm down not to have harsh chemicals put on them. The two best pieces of advice I can give you are:
1. Use a very minimal regime whilst your skin is in this state, as little as just a cleanser and moisturiser. Dermalogica do a lovely UltraCalming range that is perfect for this skin condition. I actually use their UltraCalming cleanser daily even when my skin feels great.
2. When thinking of calming your skin down, don’t forget to connect that with oatmeal. Oatmeal can be so repairing to your skin and can be amazing for conditions such and eczema and psoriasis too. If the issue is anywhere other than your face, a brilliant tip is to fill a clean sock full of organic oats (best to be one of those socks that’s lost its other half, we’ve all definitely got a few), tie it to your hot bath tap and run yourself a bath. The water will be a milky consistency. Pop yourself in for 20 mins and the benefits are more than worth the effort. But coming back to your face, I appreciate it’s difficult to lie with your face almost submerged in the bath so Aveeno products are a brilliant range containing oatmeal and can help hugely to calm your skin down. Once your skin is calm, your inflammation, redness and soreness are under control, if you then still have breakouts (which if they are stress related and all of the above is adopted then I doubt you still will have), this is when we can start to treat your skin from an Acne point of view, which is once again a whole other chapter in itself 😉
I hope this has answered any questions and covered all bases, if not please get intouch.
Love from Lois xxx
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Ive been going to see Lois and the girls at The Little Beauty Co for my nails and Microderms for ages now and would never go anywhere else. I really feel at home there, the therapists and all the clients I meet in there are very friendly and we always have such a good laugh! - and my skin's never looked better!- Emma, Allerton.
Ive been going to see Lois and the girls at The Little Beauty Co for my nails and Microderms for ages now and would never go anywhere else.- Bill, Wavertree
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