What do you do when you’ve got a problem at work? Or beef with a friend? Or a to-do list a mile long? You don’t let the stress consume you—you handle it! (Or at least try.) Well now’s the time to approach your nagging complexion concerns with that same enthusiasm and can-do attitude: You can save yourself from all the problems that pop up when your skin gets stressed. After all, feeling good about your skin can send your confidence soaring, which will only help you boss up when you need to in the rest of your life.
Plus, the latest unicorn products are so good that there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel like a glowing goddess all the time. Here, we put together a rundown of three of the most common skin issues—there’s a good chance at least one of them has been on your mind lately—and the latest and greatest problem-solvers that can help. Read on to combat dryness, unwanted signs of aging, and redness with the best stress-cancelling skincare right now.
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Whether you normally have dry skin or not, pretty much everyone is on the dryness struggle bus at this time of year. With little humidity in the air, the environment sucks moisture from wherever it can get it, which (yep!) often means your face. This can make your complexion flaky, or look and feel rough and dull, or it can cause peeling, says Devika Icecreamwala, MD, a dermatologist in Berkeley, California.
“Your skin’s barrier plays a big role in dryness,” she says. “If you’ve been over-washing or over-exfoliating, that can strip away the barrier that helps hold moisture in.” To deal, don’t simply slap on extra lotion or the thick and heavy skincare equivalent of a snowsuit. The trick to thriving during these drying times is to moisturize smarter:
Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask contains a blend of four electrolytes (coconut water, sodium PCA, magnesium PCA, and prickly pear extract)—plus fatty acids, squalane, niacinamide, and ceramides, all of which help support skin’s barrier so it can better hold onto moisture naturally. Ceramides, along with fatty acids, act like a “mortar” between skin’s surface cells, further helping to retain hydration. Meanwhile, research shows niacinamide is a dry-skin all-star; it reduces moisture loss by triggering production of skin’s natural ceramides.
“Your skin’s barrier naturally contains fatty acids, so applying products topically mimics and helps replenish that lipid layer to keep skin really hydrated,” Dr. Icecreamwala says. Bonus: You can leave this mask on while you sleep, letting your skin soak up all that goodness overnight.
Photo: Drunk Elephant
Tatcha The Serum Stick is as convenient and helpful in the winter as sunscreen sticks are in the summer. Swipe it on clean skin to smooth dry patches and get instant radiance via a slight highlight-like sheen; then carry it with you and apply over your makeup whenever your glow starts to fade. Made of 80 percent squalane, a rich emollient (or softener) found naturally in skin, the stick helps to reduce the look of fine lines with targeted hydration. Plus, the concentrated treatment also smooths skin with Japanese lemon balm.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops are packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid—an ingredient that attracts and binds water in skin—along with nourishing, fatty-acid-rich botanical extracts and oils. It helps to even your skin tone, and microfine optical pigments deliver a slight shimmer and reflect light, making skin instantly look like you’ve been spending time in balmy Hawaii, not the cold, dry, moisture-sucking tundra (or wherever you are that feels like it, anyway).
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We can pretty much all agree that getting older is a good thing—we’re more settled in our lives and likely more comfortable in our own skin. But wrinkles, uneven skin tone, brown spots, dryness, large pores, and loss of radiance aren’t exactly on our wish list. “As skin ages, cells don’t turn over as quickly, and those extra dead skin cells on your face can leave you with a dull appearance,” Dr. Icecreamwala says.
Sun exposure is enemy number one because it triggers free radicals (unstable atoms) that damage skin, so make SPF your top priority. But other factors, including stress and pollution, can also trigger free-radical damage and contribute to signs of aging. Here, simple ways to treat skin and protect your complexion:
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturizer minimizes the appearance of fine lines and tackles dullness with hydrators that leave skin soft and incredibly smooth—a more gentle approach than the harsh, sometimes-irritating ingredients found in many anti-aging products. But the cream also helps prevent the harmful effects of free radicals, thanks to antioxidant botanical super lotus, plus known hydrator hyaluronic acid.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Stress Rescue Super Serum contains skin superhero niacinamide. Research shows that the ingredient known for its ability to bolster skin’s barrier and fight dryness also fights hyperpigmentation and wrinkles (by supporting collagen levels), as well as redness.
Photo: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum is as close to a garden in a bottle as you’ll find. Loaded with potent antioxidant oils and extracts, it nourishes and soothes while protecting your complexion from free-radical damage, which is known to age the skin.
Its star ingredients include full-spectrum CBD (cannabidiol—an active compound in hemp plants that you’ve likely heard of as a trending wellness supplement), which along with providing antioxidant-powered protection may help calm redness. Don’t worry, it’s not psychoactive, so it doesn’t get you high. Plus: botanicals sea buckthorn, rosehip, and helichrysum to help encourage cell turnover; and grapeseed oil, a potent moisturizer rich in fatty acids and antioxidant compounds.
Photo: Saint Jane
Rosacea and eczema are common causes of redness, but there’s not always an underlying condition responsible, Dr. Icecreamwala says. Instead, skin can simply be more sensitive and red, and—you guessed it—stress can also trigger a flare up. Or, in addition to moisture escaping and skin drying out, irritants in the environment and certain products may also trigger visible signs of inflammation like redness and irritation and a ruddy appearance.
The best solution? Treat skin with extra TLC. Avoid exfoliating and harsh ingredients, and look for gentle products designed to be soothing, moisturizing, and protective, Dr. Icecreamwala says. A few tips:
Lord Jones Royal Oil 1000mg Pure CBD Oil contains only two ingredients: full-spectrum CBD and grapeseed oil, and both are top-notch for sensitive types.
Grapeseed oil, which feels lightweight and doesn’t clog pores like other oils, is rich in antioxidants and is loaded with fatty acids. CBD, meanwhile, may seem trendy, but it’s no fad—studies show it can help calm reactive, irritated skin.
Photo: Lord Jones
Laneige Cica Repair Sleeping Mask is specifically formulated to calm sensitive, red skin and is free of artificial fragrances and other common allergens. It’s meant to be worn overnight—when skin naturally repairs itself but is also vulnerable to moisture loss—and uses something called forest yeast cica, a botanical-based ingredient to help protect and support skin’s barrier.
To understand how it works, first let’s break down what “cica” means. It’s essentially short for centella asiatica, a plant that’s been used in eastern medicine for centuries for wounds and burns. Recently, during experimentation with a type of plant categorized as being in the cica family, forest yeast was discovered—and that its ability to support skin’s barrier and calm redness is really (really) good.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
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