When it comes to destressing your skin, it’s not enough to focus on your face but to take a holistic approach. Here’s how.

skincare, wellness

Words: Helen Wallace | Images: Supplied

Experiencing unexplained breakouts that aren’t responding to conventional treatment? You might need to check your stress levels. Yes, really! According to a recent survey, here has been a 56 percent increase in psychological and emotional distress among South Africans over the last two years. And despite inching closer to the much-talked-about ‘new normal’ it’s going to take our minds and body some time to readjust to post-pandemic life.

One effective way of reducing stress is by having a self-care ritual that you indulge in regularly.

Finding holistic habits that work for you and incorporating them into your routine can keep you feeling grounded and stable. Another great side effect is that it can contribute to a clearer, more radiant complexion.



Ever noticed that your skin is more prone to problems when you are under strain? Common complexion concerns associated with increased stress levels are redness, acne, inflammation, and flare-ups of existing skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis.

But why does our skin do this (giving us one more thing to be stressed about)? When we go through tense times, our sympathetic nervous system releases more of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The latter can make your skin glands go into oil production overdrive which can cause clogged pores and breakouts. This is why cultivating holistic habits and taking an integrated approach to self-care and wellness is crucial in the quest for clear skin.

Want to keep yourself in balance, both inside and out?

Here are four areas to address to keep you, and your skin, happy and healthy:


Our skin is the largest organ and is greatly affected by the things we consume. Foods that are high in sugar and unsaturated fat can cause blood sugar to spike and the body to release insulin. And, much like cortisol, an increase of insulin can trigger the oil glands to overproduce.

With the exception of the occasional treat (hey, we’re only human!) we should be eating a healthy diet containing plenty of fruit, vegetables and grains. Fatty fish and nuts containing necessary fatty acids and foods high in antioxidants are the first step in achieving, or maintaining, a gorgeous glow.



We all know that getting enough exercise is important for long-term wellbeing. It helps to keep weight stable, improves lung and cardiovascular health, and helps to prevent the development of some diseases. It also, however, plays in role in the look and feel of your skin. True story.

When we work out, our heart rates increase and our blood circulation improves. This makes it easier for oxygen and nutrients to be delivered throughout the body, and our skin is no different. Collagen and new cell production are promoted which make skin more supple and radiant.

skincare, wellness

It’s a no-brainer that your skincare routine – and performing it diligently twice a day – matters when it comes to a clear complexion. Fortunately, there are plenty of products and formulas containing ingredients that are designed to target and treat stressed-out skin.

Two popular ingredients, namely niacinamide and azelaic acid, are loved for their ability to reduce both redness and breakouts. K-Beauty ingredient snail mucin and Centella Asiatica, or ‘cica’, are also lauded for their soothing properties when it comes to angry skin.

destressing your skin


How much sleep are you getting each night?

Data from 2019, revealed that 30 percent of South Africans get about seven hours each night and just 27 percent get the recommended eight. And not getting enough shut-eye can have disastrous consequences for your complexion.

Skimping on sleep decreases the blood flow to the skin surrounding the face. This results in skin that is dull and lackluster, paired with some unwanted under-eye bags. Get more, better quality sleep by making bedtime early (and not scrolling for hours before you hit the lights!).

skincare, desressing skin


Is your skin red and inflamed? Here’s how to soothe it:

  1. Check your ingredients: Using skincare products that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, retinol, and glycolic acid can help to treat the acne that’s causing the redness.
  2. Restore your skin barrier: Having a disrupted skin barrier is the reason behind almost all complexion concerns. Use products containing peptides and ceramides to keep yours strong.
  3. Try natural solutions: Other redness-reducing ingredients – which can be found in products and the kitchen – include chamomile, cucumber, aloe and caffeine.
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