Help! My skin looks stressed

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 46 Comments

It’s been a full-on couple of months.

Nothing traumatic, just intensely busy.

Whenever I find myself in these kind of intensely busy times, guess where it shows up physically?

Yep, my skin.

The psoriasis on my scalp has flared up like it’s been fed a super growth fertiliser, which I guess it has … in the form of stress.

But I know things are really bad when I look in the mirror and see that the skin on my face looks stressed. And it feels it too.

For some, stressed skin takes the form of break-outs. For me it’s in the form of patches of red, irritated and dry skin.

If that’s you too, here’s what I’ve been doing and using to calm the situation down.

1. I swapped facials

I’ve pretty much stuck to my monthly facial regime this year but when it came time for my last one, I spoke to my therapist and said I wasn’t keen to go with the regular Hydro Peptide peel and facial I’d been having (and loving) as my skin was highly reactive.

She agreed and we swapped to a Dermalogica Ultracalming facial.

So soothing. I could almost hear my skin breathe a sigh of relief.

2. I re-jigged the routine

Dermalogica Ultracalm range can help with skin sensitivty flare ups

As I was about to set off on a few weeks of travel, post facial I bought the Dermalogica Ultracalming facial kit to take with – $50 well spent.

The cleanser, serum concentrate and barrier repair are the heroes here. I had already been sent the barrier repair for trial. It’s like a moisturiser and super primer, melting into the skin, soothing all the things and protecting your skin from the elements.

When worked with the cleanser and serum concentrate, I’ve seen real improvement. And importantly, no worsening.

3. I gave my skin treats

Sodashi skincare products for achieving a calming glow

For now, I’ve dropped any exfoliation – a skincare step that I usually never skip.

Instead I’m taking a gently, gently approach to get that glow.

In the evening I’ve continued to use the super luxe Sodashi Samadara Ultimate Age-Defying Elixir. I’ve been using it sparingly every night since late May. It really has lived up to its promises of more lifted and translucent skin. (For a cheaper alternative try Trilogy AgeProof CoQ10 Booster Serum)

This, together with weekly masks using Sodashi Marine Brightening Mask to gently re-energise the skin, has helped to keep some kind of glow happening despite nowhere near enough sleep. (For a budget alternative try Natio Ageless Hydrating Mask)

4. I applied TLC as required

Kosmea Rescue Balm

A few times all of the above has not been enough to calm the farm on my skin.

One night, after being sent Kosmea Rescue Balm to trial, I thought, what have I got to lose?

It’s thicker than a moisturiser and doesn’t melt into the skin like Dermalogica Ultracalm Barrier Repair but its formula of rosehip butter, everlasting oil and calendula oil worked overnight.

5. I gave my mind a little help

Yes to yoga, yes to meditation (I’m still trying to make this a habit), yes to being grateful every day … all this helps me keep a lid on the inevitable stress that comes whenever my life gets crazy.

I also call on aromatherapy synergy blends – my girlfriend Kim creates the exquisite Twenty8 blends and I swear by them as instant mood changes.

These are my current faves.

Twenty8 Aromatherapy Synergy Blends

Does your skin react when you’re stressed? What do you use to calm it down? 

Comments 46

    1. Everyone’s budget for skincare is different. I use and trial a combination of different price points. The regular Sodashi range is a similar price point to other salon ranges – the Samadara is another step up. I think they are worth the $ because of the quality of chemical-free ingredients and effectiveness of those ingredients. But it doesn’t matter how good a product is, if it’s not within someone’s budget then it’s not a good idea.

  1. I use a mix of organic and active skincare. When my skin is playing up, I use the Pai range-it is formulated for sensitive skin and the Hydrating cleanser and moisturisers are just amazing. I also love the Weleda Almond Soothing range.

  2. Yep! It certainly does! As i’ve grown older, my skin seems to be more problematic. Stress & the weather are the 2 things I find affect it the most! I LOVE the Dermalogica Ultra calming line, but it often only gets used when it’s needed the most due to the price. Still trying to find something a bit easier on the wallet.

      1. I picked up a similar pack, I think it had one or 2 more products, from ozsale or brandsexclusive. I figured I can justify that pricing when I use it sparingly when my skin really needs that extra TLC.

  3. Hi NIkki, I’ve been a long time follower of your blog which I love and read every day, but have never commented. I shall finally come out of the shadows to recommend the fabulous Trichovedic Luxury range of hair products that my hairdresser suggested. My scalp psoriasis drastically improved within weeks and has now practically cleared up with continual use. I am sooo grateful I found it, as I had tried everything. The shampoo and conditioner are really thick and moisturising so I found them very soothing on my itchy scalp. If I have time I even leave the conditioner on for an hour to work it’s magic. I agree that stress triggers the condition. I can also recommend the People for Plants skincare range for sensitive or hormonal skin issues. I saw a noticeable difference. Hope that helps someone! It’s miserable suffering with skin problems.

  4. I have perioral dermatitis which flares up occasionally (including now…)
    need to find my elidel cream.
    Other than that I use Neutrogena moisturiser. That’s the thing

    Was lovely to meet you at the book launch in Melb last night. You were lovely.

  5. I have psoriasis too Nikki, and at the moment it’s contained mostly to my scalp. I find that stress has always been the biggest aggravation. I recently started yoga and wish I had done so years ago – the meditation is every bit as essential to my mind and emotions, as the physical side is to my body.
    The winter weather also affects my skin – going from heating into Melbourne cold makes my skin hurt, so I’m using a serum at the moment which is very soothing (Hourglass #28). Thanks for the reminder about the Dermalogica – it really sounds worth a try!

    On another note – you looked absolutely fabulous last night at your Melbourne launch! And just as lovely on the inside, so lovely to meet you! So great to see your book so successful – you’ve earnt it. xx

  6. Does my skin react when I’m stressed? Hell to the yes!
    I’ve stripped my skincare right back to bare essentials and have seen a major improvement. I’m being a lot more diligent with rosehip oil which is also helping. I’m also keeping a close eye on my water intake, trying not to touch my face too much and eating healthily. It all makes a difference!

  7. Ah, my skin is really bothering me at the moment. Since turning thirty, I haven’t found any products that seem to really work for me, despite trying many – the closest I came was with some Natio products, but even those are still not really doing the trick. The combination of the effects of my underactive thyroid on the skin, the lack of sleep from being a new mum, as well as being 35 and needing to combat the start of aging, mean that despite my efforts, my skin is constantly dry, dull and just not great. I loved Dermalogica in my early 20s – maybe its time to go back!!

      1. Definitely on the agenda 🙂 After doing the wardrobe edit etc after reading Unlock Your Style, it has re-energised me and motivated me to put aside some time for me (that kind of fell by the wayside after bub was born), so bring it on!! Thank you so much for giving me the push I needed 🙂

  8. Hi Nikki, I have always had slightly sensitive skin but after i had my second child i had a period where my skin was highly sensitive, red, patches of rashes and breakouts! my beauty therapist was a god-send. she got me on to a great brand called Medicalia, which has a whole range devoted to Sensitive skin. The products are aimed at calming, soothing and de-sensitising your skin with a beautiful, gentle range, that actaully does everything it says! i also had regular facials at this time to sooth and calm my skin, as well as trying to strenthen it back up. My skin is no longer inflammed (stressed) so i now use another range, called Medik8. (i switch brands every couple of years to keep up with latest tech). Medik8 have a great cleanser called Red alert cleanse, that is so lovely on sensitive skin and are a lot less pricey than the Medicalia range. Medik8 have a great range of serums and reasonable prices, which i love, and I have regular Omnilux treatments! i love them so much ive blogged about them! my therapist avoided any scrubs or peels on my skin, while it was bad also. and we are still cautious about certain treatments. i do love the Dermalogica ultra calming spray too!

    1. Leanne, thanks so much for sharing what’s worked for you – I know this will help others. I’m yet to try Omnilux but have always wanted to – will put back on the list to find a therapist near me who offers it.

  9. Yes mine does too in the form of roseacia and just general dullness. I swear by the ultralcalming masque and use it a couple of times a week.A tip my therapist gave me was to wear it overnight it works and it helps and a big nod to meditation Nikki .I have not being doing it as often as I should either,why when we are most stressed do what drop what we should be doing ??try smiling mind app it’s has litte meditations to get you back in the swing of it in 10,15 minutes and longer ones so you can choose how much time you have.I do hope your psoriasis clears up and try and take some time out for you Xx

  10. Congrats and continued success Nikki!
    But yes I hear you regarding stress….I just am in the middle of the worst flu ever, the first in close to 8 years and that is due to being under stress …..
    I have had in the last year ; the loss of my beloved dad, mad house hunting to lose a coupla houses that we thought we would get… then…. finally to buy one , start a new job when it was time to pack and move and settle in. Then an accident on the way to work that totalled my car as a tanker changed lanes into me…..luckily no broken bones
    Followed by bathroom Reno that went over schedule and over budget,then my mum slips and falls to break her shoulder…emergency surgery, rehab over 6 weeks…..she will live with us ,so rush on getting the place ready and safe….and on it goes.

    My skin looks awful I feel awful and adding insult to injury: fever blisters/ cold

  11. For years I suffered with peri oral dermatitis, being told to use cortisone on my face which is bad, bad, bad but also doesn’t work (in fact makes it worse). I looked like I had a permanent pash rash

    1. Hi Emma! It’s interesting to share experiences. It’s well documented on the Internet not to use a cortisone cream on this condition and yet doctors still prescribe it!? The antibiotics are effective but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. I got rid of my first bout of said condition only to have it return a few months later. I think vitamin A serums and heavy creams have contributed to my experience. Have to pare everything back for a while.

      1. Hi merrie. I have been off the antibiotics for quite a while now although I did stop after I had been on them a few months and it came back – so did pimples in my nose. I hadn’t made the connection until then that I had been increasingly suffering from pimples in my nose together with the increasingly worse perioral dermatitis – perhaps a connection ( a little bacterial reservoir) but both cleared with a longer dose of the ab’s. I haven’t had any problems since. I first got it many years ago and thankfully ideas about treatment have changed. I think it took longer for me to get the right treatment as I had stopped mentioning it to my dr – and probably changed dr in that time too so not on my records. Good luck with getting your sorted – it is so miserable when it’s red and itchy. X

  12. I certainly didn’t think I’d be battling pimples and wrinkles in my late 40’s, but I still get hormonal and stress related pimples on my right cheek and chin.

    I used to be all about MD Formulations, switched to Priori products a while back, but have lately been mixing those with some Peter Thomas Roth and Kate Somerville. I’m loving the results.

    I think for my oily mature skin, a mixture across ranges gives the best results as long as I stick to regular exfoliating and eating reasonably cleanly.

  13. hi nikki, hope you Melbourne launch went well for you!
    “balance is the be all and end all” a yoga guru once told me!
    I think the skin is reflecting what is going on internally for most people too.
    i know that when I am relaxed and eating raw fresh whole foods and using skin care products that are natural and organic, I feel and look more radiant!
    coconut oil is my go to for everything now and I’m loving it! have a relaxing trip! Namaste! m:)X

  14. I love using lots of products on my skin and was proud of how resilient it was until I developed peri oral dermatitis. I’m not sure why I get it whether it’s the products or stress related. It develops around the mouth in the lower half of the face in patches. It is dry and itchy and looks like a patch of little pimples! Yuck!! I took myself off to the doctor because no amount of self diagnosis was proving effective. Sadly the treatment recommended was antibiotic and to stop all my lovely products and NO makeup!! Not what I wanted to hear. More googling and have discovered Avene products which definitely soothe my face. I do avoid the area of concern when applying products and occasionally need to disguise the area of concern with make up. Doesn’t help but needs to be done sometimes. I would love to hear from others who have suffered from this and their experiences. I have used Dermalogica ultra calming cleanser for many years and love it!!

    1. Oh dear … I’ve had a condition in the past that needed an antibiotic cream treatment to clear it and it did very quickly. Didn’t have to stop my other products though so didn’t have to make the decision!

  15. Like you, psoriasis is my skin nemesis.It also has the nasty habit of appearing when I least want it too – Hello stress!
    Your new routine sounds divine…I may just have to start trying Dermalogica, it might just be the touch of fabulousness my skin needs right now xx

    1. Try it Bev ,you can get samples from a Dermalogica salon,just saying and also when the new line of Jurlique Nutrition-Define comes out (not sure when ) I was lucky to go on a trail it is so good for mature skin,my skin has never felt softer,good luck Xx

  16. When I’m stressed, I get breakouts across my lower left cheek and jawline. It’s always the same spot. My skin also goes from looking youthful to looking my age. Often more sleep + increasing my water intake helps but last month after a Clarins facial I purchased some of their products and my skin really likes them. I exfoliate once a week max as my skin doesn’t cope with more.

  17. Just wondering if you have found anything that helps your scalp. Mine has flared up too (stress? winter heating? diet?).

  18. I’ve been slowing using up other brands and then swapping to Dermalogica. My skin is looking better, and a few people have said it looks softer, which is nice. Stress shows in my face, and if I don’t drink enough water it shows the next day. I have been wondering if I am exfoliating too much, might cut it back and see how I go, my skin looked a bit red this morning. Hope it’s not too cold in Melbourne, such a beautiful city isn’t it. Kathryn x

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