Stressed Out Skin

TIA is based in New York City, and being the bunch of busy New Yorkers we are, we tend to live the stressful hustle and bustle lifestyle that comes with city living. In fact, NYC has a destructive habit of romanticizing stress. After all, working 50 hours a week, getting less than four hours of sleep a night and drinking eight cups of coffee is what successful people do, right?

But these days we know how damaging stress is for our health, both physically and mentally. Stress not only kickstarts the aging process, it can also lead to other illnesses, like depression or high blood pressure. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, we want to take a look at the importance stress plays in anti-aging skin care. If those worry lines got you, um, worried, here are signs that your stressed-out skin needs some TLC.

Sudden Breakouts

There's nothing like waking up and finding a fresh explosion of pimples dotted across your face. Stress increases inflammation, which leads to acne. For a quick fix, Clarity MD Skin Clarifying Acne Treatment Pads ($25 in the shop) is a quick way to regain control of acne flare-ups. Medik8 Beta Gel Blemish Gel ($68 in the shop), an exfoliating gel designed to fight blemishes, is another way to keep pimples under control. But if you're stressed out, it's likely you're neglecting your skin care regimen in some way, which is causing the breakout. To avoid this, remember to cleanse your face every night with a gentle exfoliating cleanser before going to bed — yep, even when you're tired.

Loss of Firmness

Long-term stress can also slow down the body's ability to produce elastin, which decreases elasticity in the skin and results in saggy skin. Scientists have also proved that stress leads to the shortness of telomeres, which are DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that control cell aging. Teprenone, or Renovage, stops the shortening of telomeres and is found in products like Your Best Face Control ($160 in the shop) and Medik8 Red Alert ($60 in the shop). Both help control aging by stabilizing cell production, which is integral to younger looking skin.

Dull, Problematic Skin

Ever have those mornings where you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror and think your complexion looks worse, but you're not sure why? Well, there's a reason. Our skin is our body's largest organ. When there's an inbalance happening within our body, its effects are revealed on our skin. When we're stressed, the hormones in our body go haywire, attacking our skin's weaknesses and making them worse. So if your problem is dry skin, your skin will get drier; if your problem is blotchy skin, your complexion will worsen, etc. A tough-acting serum can mend dull, blotchy skin, like La Vie Celeste Eclairage Restorative Serum ($98.50 in the shop), which uses antioxidants and skin-brighteners to give the skin that even-toned, dewey look. We also like Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum ($35 in the shop), which has alpha hydroxy acids to brighten, smooth your complexion and ceramides to hold in moisture — no matter how stressed your skin is.

Thinning Hair

If you're noticing an alarming amount of hair in your hair brush or clogging the shower drain, stress might be the likely culprit. Sometimes stress can cause the body's immune system to attack hair follicles, forcing them into a resting phase that lasts a few months before they all fall out at once, resulting in significantly thinner hair. Luckily, stress-related hair loss is temporary, but one way to fight it is to find a good thickening shampoo, like Yarok Feed Your Volume Shampoo ($33), followed up with a vitamin b5 and biotin-rich conditioner, like Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Volumizing Conditioner ($23 in the shop). These products will help plump up the hair to hide any thinness, but if you're looking to regrow the hair you lost, Truth Vitality Advanced Complex ($59-79 in the shop) is a hair serum with copper peptides to fight hair loss.

Our Take

Although these product recommendations will help curb the damaging effects of stress, these are only short-term fixes. To truly live a stress-free life, we recommend the usual advice: sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise and smile. And if that doesn't work, you can always adopt a dog!