Stressed-Out Skin

1st November 2008

Stress is proven to speed up the appearance of ageing skin. Mary Linehan suggests some remedies.

According to Clinique, the proof is in the before and after pictures of people in high office. In much the same way as over-exposure to uv damage and pollution cause damage, sustained stress has a detrimental effect on the skin, resulting in the appearance of the fine lines and wrinkles that are signs of premature ageing.

Clinique’s scientists have found that when the body is stressed, it releases a cocktail of hormones which can cause irritation and dehydration and ultimately lead to a breakdown in skin metabolism. Key to preventing stress-related skin damage, they claim, is their New Superdefense SPF25 Age Defense Moisturizer with a raft of super ingredients that include extract of red microalgae, a marine algae that helps fight the physiological signs of emotional stress, and padina pavoica extract, from the marine plant of the same name, to help strengthen the moisture barrier – plus the proven potent antioxidant vitamins E and C to help mop up damage from free radicals. The formulation also includes Clinique’s patented ‘Skin Signalling Repair Technology’ that encourages and activates skin’s natural repair process.

Meanwhile, Lancôme’s experts believe that persistent emotional stress can also increase sensitivity leading to discomfort and redness. They say that redness of the skin can be caused by ‘Substance P’, the chemical released by the nerve endings as a result of stress. To help combat this, their classic Hydra Zen Neurocalm™ Anti Stress Moisture Cream delivers intense 24 hour hydration and is enriched with such ‘dermo-smoothing’ ingredients as rose, peony and sea fennel extract which work together to calm the skin and help alleviate signs of stress.

I know just from looking in the mirror that my skin suffers when I am stressed. It shows most of the signs that the beauty experts claim are visible indicators of how prolonged stress has an adverse effect – although thankfully not all at the same time. One other brand that I find works in times of need is top spa brand, Elemis. Their brilliant Noella Gabriel, Director of Product and Treatment Development, says: “Stress and toxic lifestyles can leave skin tired, grey and in need of a boost.” Elemis’s Liquid Radiance Cell Renewal System is a two-phase system both lightweight creams. Phase 1 is designed to detox and prime the skin, while Phase II boosts it with a concentrated micro-encapsulated combination of 15 antioxidant vitamins and amino acids, from pistachio, star fruit, olive, grape, carrot and honey, to aid cell regeneration and help combat the potentially damaging effects of stress and environmental damage. This is definitely worth the investment to get skin back on track – and it certainly makes the skin feel more comfortable.

New Superdefense SPF25 Age Defense Moisturizer is available for three skin types:
Very Dry to Dry, Dry Combination and Combination Oily to Oily and retails
at £24 for 30ml jar, or £32 for 50ml and is available from Clinique counters nationwide.

Lancôme Zen Neurocalm™ Anti Stress Moisurising Cream retails
at £35 for 50ml; available nationwide.

Elemis Liquid Radiance Cell Renewal System is priced at £68. For stockists, mail order & enquiries visit or call the Elemis Customer Care Centre on 01278 727 830.

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