No matter how perfect your skin care routine is, we all hit points in life when we look less than radiant. Often it’s stress that zaps your glow. And the last thing you need when you’re feeling run down and tired from stress is looking like you’re run down and tired.
Stressed skin usually looks dull, and a dull complexion needs three things: exfoliation, hydration, and nourishment. [Tweet this!] Stress causes your body to deplete its vitamin stores, and your skin loses its nutrients first. It’s also more likely to break out as cortisol changes oil production. Here are some of my cheats to revitalize skin that needs extra help.
Mask, mask, mask. Facial masks can do just about anything you need for your skin. When my skin is looking dull and tired, I let a mask soak into my skin, even if I just squeeze in a few minutes in the shower. Whether I’m getting an extra shot of vitamins, a bit of exfoliation, or even a dose of hydration, my skin loves the help. Some to try? I love the Fresh Rose Face Mask for hydrating and revitalizing. Another favorite is the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel for extra exfoliation.
Brighten with a multi-vitamin serum or moisturizer. If you’re not already using a serum that lists vitamin C or niacinamide among its ingredients, get one now. Since your dull complexion is telling you that you’re lacking nutrients, make sure to add as many as you can. Some of my go-to skin care products are the iS Clinical Poly Vitamin Serum, which covers all of your needs with a blend of glycolic acid, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, or the Astara Antioxidant Light Moisturizer, which infuses tons of botanicals and nutrients into one lightweight product.
Grab a green juice. Finding time to eat healthy can be a challenge, and stress just makes me want to eat brownies. Maybe I’m the only one? Sometimes it’s easier to drink my veggies on the go. Greens have tons of phytonutrients and vitamins, and giving your body this boost will also help your skin get the nourishment it needs.
How do you save your skin when stress takes its toll?
I chose to use my Rodan and Fields Redefine Multi Function eye cream as my massage medium. I like this eye cream because of the creamy texture, and also because it has many beneficial ingredients. You want to choose something that is creamy and has a little slip to it, so you can glide across the skin without dragging or pulling.
Apply the eye cream or a tiny bit of coconut or jojoba oil all around the eye area.
Using gentle pressure, sweep upward on the brows. Massage the frown lines between the eyes and stretch them out.
Work up to release tear duct, and sweep across brow. Find the pressure point at the bottom of the brow and press in for a few seconds.
Work across the length of the brow in gentle, soft strokes
Return to the tear duct and gently pull down on the inside corner of the eye. Sweep from the inside to the outside without pulling on the skin.
Work a little extra eye cream into the crow’s feet and around the temples.
These techniques are helpful to stimulate lymph drainage, which can reduce dark circles and puffiness. It can also be beneficial to reduce sinus pressure due to allergies or illness.
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It’s never my first recommendation, but sometimes the temptation to pick a pimple is overwhelming. And I understand… sometimes those guys just scream to be squeezed! I have a list of rules that must be followed should you succumb to the urge to pick.
Start with steamed skin. Usually after a shower is best. Steam softens the skin and allows the debris to come out more easily.
Only pick the most obvious whiteheads, with the infection right at the surface. If you’re going for a blackhead, only go for those that at the surface and opened.
Wrap your clean fingers in tissues. Never use your nails. Use gentle pressure. Don’t force it if it doesn’t give immediately. Wait a few days and try again.
Cleanse the area and sanitize it with a salicylic acid spot treatment, like Sircuit Skin Fixzit. You can even apply ice for a few minutes to reduce the inflammation.
Use a sulfur mask to kill bacteria and help the pores contract. You can even leave it on the spot overnight. One of my all time favorites for this is Peter Thomas Roth Sulfur Cooling Masque. I do this to reduce blemishes when I first notice them too, so I don’t ever get to the point where I have to extract them.
Leave it alone. This is the point where not picking becomes very important. If you repeatedly pick at a blemish, you slow down the healing process, and ultimately you can cause long-term scarring.
Ideally, we will never get to the point where something screams at us to be picked. But it happens to all of us, and using these precautions can prevent the long-term collagen damage that occurs when we’ve overpicked. Also remember that sometimes the best way to control your urge to pick is to take one giant step away from the magnifying mirror. [Tweet this!]
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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whether you have a date or are looking for one… you’re going to need to get your best glow going! Here are five tips to get you glowing in just a few days.
Cozy up with a vitamin C serum. Vitamin C helps to promote blood circulation (therefore detoxing the skin), decrease uneven skin tone, and brightening your complexion all over. You’ll get bonus brightening if the vitamin C is paired with arbutin, licorice root extract, or kojic acid. One of my favorites is the iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum, packed with potent vitamin C to stimulate repair and get the blood moving. Another of my favorites is the Korres Wild Rose Brightening Serum , which uses wild rose extracts that naturally contain vitamin C to brighten and prevent fine lines.
Kiss your skin with some alpha hydoxy acids. A little extra exfoliation helps to get rid of the layers of dead skin cells that sometimes build up in cooler months and cause a dull complexion. Add a glycolic cleanser three to four times a week, or try an at home peel once a week for the next two weeks to excavate your glow. Some to try? I love DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge glycolic wash (available in varying glycolic strengths start with 1 if you’re new to glycolic), which is formulated to not cause excessive dryness. For at-home peels, I love MD Skincare’s Alpha-Beta Daily Face Peel, though I feel like daily use can be excessive. I generally recommend using it 2-3 times per week at night.
Have a fling with an instant brightening mask. I keep these miracle workers
on hand for a quick fix. My current romance is with the Boscia Bright White Mask, packed with vitamin C and sea algae to remineralize and revitalize the complexion. Another one to try? I love Fresh Rose Face Mask for hydration and a glow.
Commit to complete moisture. Cold weather slows oil production and harsh wind can abuse the skin. Look for skin replenishing lipids such as ceramides, shea butter, and healthy botanical oils like jojoba and argan oils. I get my deep moisture from creams like Sircuit Skin Cloud 9 moisturizer or the Astara Antioxidant Light Moisturizer, which is a little lighter but still a glow getter. Be careful of going too heavy… many moisturizers just sit on the surface, leaving the underlying layers depleted and lacking luster. When in doubt, apply layers of moisture in the form of serums and creams.
Cheat your complexion with some cosmetic saviors. I rely on highlighters like Fresh’s Twilight highlighter and Benefit High Beam to fake a glow
where there was dullness before. I swear by a pink blush like the ever famous NARS Orgasm blush, which has saved me on many an early morning (better for lighter skin tones… try Dolce Vita for deeper skin tones). I also love Tarte cheek stain in Blushing Bride. The gel texture is better for dry skin types because it helps the skin appear more hydrated (powders sometimes make skin look drier, which is opposite of the glow we’re going for).
These are some of my favorite tips. What do you do to save your complexion in the middle of tough skin times?
Try a glycolic acid or salicylic acid wash at home a few times a week. Salicylic is best for blackheads, but it may be too much for drier skin types. Since we’re trying to soften the skin and get a little extra exfoliation, glycolic washes are great, quick things to do at home. My favorites include the DermaDoctor Wrinkle Revenge Cleanser, which is a great creamy, non-drying glycolic cleanser in various strengths (start with Wrinkle Revenge 1 if you’ve never used a glycolic wash). Another great option is the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel. It includes a little salicylic acid, so it is better from more combination skin types.
I like to amp up my at-home cleanse with the Clarisonic Cleansing Brush a couple of times a week. Ultrasound cleansing or sonic cleansing uses sound waves to break up the debris on the surface of the skin more quickly and more effectively than regular cleansers. Plus the oscillations of the brush stimulate the micro-circulation in the uppermost layers of the skin which also boosts your natural glow.
Get some extra exfoliation with an at home peel. Whereas I strongly believe that at-home peels can’t replace the professional strength ones that I offer in my clinical practice, it is a great way to get more effective exfoliation at home. Do an at-home peel once a week and follow with a clay mask to mimic some of the results of a professional deep cleansing that I do in my treatments. Some fun ones to try? I’ve always loved the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel. It’s an extremely effective peel as well as being organic. I also love the Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Youth Accelerator Pumpkin Peel. I work with this line currently, and it is my go-to enzyme peel for people with congested skin.
Follow your peel with a detoxifying clay mask a couple of times a week. I have been using the Rodan and Fields Anti-Age Daily Cleansing Mask a few times a week to help draw impurities out of the skin in this especially sweaty, oily time of year. It is a clay-based cleanser that can double as a mask, making it a quick detox for super busy people. Another mask to try is the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, a fun peel-off mask that detoxifies while it brightens, though it definitely requires more time to work effectively.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that your skin doesn’t need to be deeply cleansed often. Some natural oils on your skin are not bad; in fact, it is even healthy! So don’t mistake a stripped down, tight feeling for a deep cleanse. But incorporating some of these ideas and products into your regular routine a few times a week can help control breakouts, keep cell turnover rate high, and boost your daily glow.
People who know me personally know that I have been going through a very difficult time in my life. It started one Friday afternoon in late April when my perfectly constructed world crumbled in a few careless text messages, and it recently culminated in the stifling heat of July. Throughout this time, I’ve became aware of how much I’ve been relying on my beauty rituals to lift my mood. In the midst of tears, sadness, and anger, I’ve been using my crazy beauty obsession as an anchor in my day.
The point of this post is not to compare difficult times, or to belittle your personal experiences, or to throw a pity party for myself. I can point out a million examples of people who are struggling more than me. It’s also not to say that something little is going to take away your stress or grief. I know that it is not easy to take care of yourself when your world seems like it’s falling apart. The point is that there are some little things that you can focus on to pull you through. It’s so easy to say that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. In times of stress, it’s easy to let these little habits slip. But these little habits are the ones that don’t have to take a long time but can have huge effects on the way you feel about yourself in down times.
These are some little habits that I’ve been relying on to pick my mood up, even if just for a quick minute.
Taking a shower and using a shower gel with a fragrance I love. My personal favorites are the Korres Shower Gel in Jasmine and Japanese Rose. I follow with the matching body butter (either the Jasmine or the Japanese Rose) and take a few minutes to breath in the fragrance. Time needed? Whatever I spend in the shower plus 2 more minutes.
Making sure that I follow my regular evening routine. Sometimes just managing to do a quick routine makes me feel better, just knowing that my skin will fake what I don’t feel. And performing the same routine is a comforting constant when everything else in life has been flipped upside down. Time needed? No more than 3 minutes.
Trying a little strategic makeup. Light concealer around the eyes hides dark circles from sleepless nights. Bright pink blush gives a little life to a dull complexion. A shimmery highlight cream fakes the glow I know I don’t have. Hiding behind a few cosmetic products at least gives me a little relief from the “You look so tired” and “What’s wrong” comments that I don’t have the energy to ward off. Time needed? 5 minutes.
Finding small pampering moments for yourself won’t put more money in your checking account or make the kids stop screaming. But finding two to five minutes to maintain a beauty ritual can boost self-esteem and confidence, as well as temporarily lifting your mood. I speak from personal experience when I say that I know how hard it can be to take care of yourself, but I also know how much it can help. Build healthy habits now that you can lean on in tough times. If your tough time is now, be sure to take some time and effort to take care of yourself.
I am a licensed esthetician and fully certified skin care nerd. I am passionate about all things beauty. I want to help you take care of yourself, to feel better about how you look, and to live a happier, healthier life.