Would you be surprised to learn that most everyone is stressed out around the holidays?
We didn’t think so.
According to a 2015 Healthline survey, between 61 and 65 percent of all respondents said they felt stressed during the holidays. Most were concerned about finances, though family dramas, cooking meals, working, and trying to travel to be near family were all major issues, too.
Unfortunately, stress affects not only our overall health, but our skin, too. In a 2014 study review, researchers wrote: “Recent research has confirmed skin both as an immediate stress perceiver and as a target of stress responses.” In other words, skin senses stress immediately, and often suffers because of it.
You’ve seen the signs: dryness, acne breakouts (just when you don’t need them), redness, and more. But you don’t want to look sub-par over the holidays. Whether you’re spending time with family, going out with friends, or attending those work parties, you want to look your best.
How do you do that when you’re barely keeping your head above water?
10 Ways to Counteract Stress and Look Great
First, you have to take care of yourself and your skin. Realize that this is a stressful time for most people, which means you actually have to be more diligent in your self-care, not less.
Second, you need beauty tips that you can turn to in a pinch, when your skin just isn’t cooperating. We’ve got tips to help you with both of these steps below.
5 Self-Care Tips
- Practice stress relief every day: You simply can’t afford to ignore this step. You’re busy. We get it. But you can take 15 minutes at the end of the day, or 30 minutes between work and home, to go for a walk, spend some time with a good friend, take a warm bath, listen to some of your favorite music, go to a yoga or tai chi class, or get a massage. Schedule some sort of stress relieving activity each day to help you keep a handle on your frazzled nerves.
- Get more antioxidants in your diet. Stress naturally ramps up the damaging free radicals in your system, which hurts your health and your skin. So it’s time to increase your intake of antioxidants. These nutrients render free radicals harmless, and help your skin resist the signs of aging. It’s not complicated-just pile more fruits and veggies onto your plate. Add a morning smoothie to your routine and fill it with things like berries, grapes, leafy green veggies, carrots, and maybe a little flaxseed. Drink more green tea, and consider a resveratrol supplement.
- Reduce inflammation: Stress triggers inflammation, which is bad for your heart and your cells, and also increases risk of acne breakouts and excess redness. To cool the inner fire, eat more anti-inflammatory foods (find our handy list of those here), and make sure the products you’re using aren’t adding to the problem. If your skin care or makeup has sulfates or other harsh ingredients, they can make inflammation worse. Look for apply anti-inflammatory ingredients like oat extract and vitamin E, and consider taking a refreshing spray with you (like our Rescue + Relief Spray) to calm skin during the day.
- Adjust your skin care routine: Stressed skin is more sensitive skin. If you already have sensitive skin you’re familiar with the deal, but if you don’t, it may surprise you by breaking out more often, or reacting to products that were previously just fine. Choose only safe, fragrance-free products, and make sure you don’t skip your nighttime skin routine-this one is most important, as skin repairs itself overnight. Cleanse carefully with a gentle, creamy cleanser, then apply your serums and lotions to keep skin moisturized. Our Calming Moisture also contains natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that will help your skin better manage this stressful time of year.
- Don’t skip exercise! Exercise is one of the best methods for dealing with stress. When you exercise, you burn off that frustration, and you also stimulate the release of natural feel good hormones in the body. You may think you don’t have time, but if you skip exercise, you’ll feel even more stressed out, so make time! Exercise also stimulates circulation and helps your skin to look more vibrant and alive.
5 Beauty Tips
Even if you’re doing all the things mentioned above, your skin may still act up now and then. When that happens, try these tips:
- Hide a pimple: If that dreaded breakout happens, apply some redness-reducing eye drops to “get the red out” of the spot, then lightly pat some concealer over the top. Use a small brush for best results. Pat and feather around the area, gently smoothing the edges. Don’t go too heavy or it will be more noticeable.
- De-puff: If you overindulged the night before, and wake up to puffy eyes and puffy skin, it’s time to take the puff out. Frozen veggies can do the trick-apply for 5-7 minutes. You can also use infant teething rings chilled in the refrigerator on your eyes to take down that swelling, or chilled teabags. Or, do the opposite and stand under a hot shower for about 5 minutes to restore your skin to normal-both ways work. Follow with your favorite eye cream and moisturizer.
- Use bronzer: If your skin is looking a bit lackluster and you want a livelier glow, bronzer is a great way to get it. In the winter, powder bronzer may be too drying. Try a cream bronzer for the perfect pick-me-up.
- Get some coconut oil. This is one of the best natural moisturizers out there, and can really help bring back dull, lifeless hair. Simply apply and leave on for at least 30 minutes, or wrap your hair in a towel and sleep in it overnight. Our Restorative Skin Balm also works great for dry, cracked and sore hands. You can use cotton gloves to seal in the moisturizing goodness.
- Exfoliate your lips. Cracked, dry lips can ruin your holiday look in a hurry. Lipstick doesn’t hide them-in fact, it may even make them look worse. To avoid this dreaded outcome, exfoliate your lips at least twice a week. There are several products out there you can use, or you can make your own lip scrub at home with ingredients like olive oil and sugar, sugar & honey, baking soda and water, or brown sugar and coconut oil. Apply a deeply moisturizing balm afterwards (like our Restorative Skin Balm) and do your best not to lick your lips.
How do you keep your skin looking great during the holiday season?
David Mills, “Big Meals, Tight Schedules and Wallets: What Stresses Us Most at the Holidays,” Healthline, November 30, 2015, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-stresses-us-most-at-the-holidays-113015#2.
Ying Chen and John Lyga, “Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation, and Skin Aging,” Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets, June 2014; 13(3):177-190, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082169/.