Stress happens to everyone, but since you can't avoid your job, bills, or life, the best thing to do is learn to manage the stress. This includes eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and taking care of yourself in general, says Jackie Damboragian, health coach at the Dr. Frank Lipman's Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC. If you don't, signs of stress can show up on your hair, skin, and nails in ways you won't like. Here are nine evil things stress does to your appearance, along with ways to keep looking *~FlAwLeSs~* 24/7.
1. Under-Eye Bags
Tomorrow's to-do list can weigh on your mind, keeping you from getting enough beauty sleep. This can cause fluid to pool below your lower eyelid area, and what you end up with is a puffy mess in the a.m. Stomach sleepers, bad news: You can expect the puffiness of your under-eye bags to be even worse because of gravity.
Prevent and Shrink Puffiness: Get at least eight hours of sleep. Since the light from your smartphone's screen simulates sunlight, shut off any electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep. Use your downtime to make yourself a cup of caffeine-free chamomile tea, like Traditional Medicinal Nighty Night Tea, to help calm and relax you before bed.
If you still wake up with puffy eyes in the morning, hold the back of a cold spoon (pop it in the fridge so it gets chilly) up to your under-eye area and massage it from the inner to the outer corner of your eye to jumpstart the fluid's drainage.
Then, apply concealer in an inverted triangle under your eye. The brightness will start slightly below your nostrils and build toward your eye, concealing the puffiness.
2. Dry, Flaky Skin
If you're stressed, chances are you're not drinking enough water. You might also be drinking coffee or soda, which can be dehydrating. And if your body doesn't get the proper hydration it needs, your skin will end up feeling (and looking) like crepe paper.
Look Dewy and Fresh-Faced: First and foremost, drink a lot of water — eight glasses (or more!) each day. You can also down some green tea for a boost of healthy antioxidants and eat foods that have a high water content (fruits and veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, and celery are 80 to 90 percent water).
For a quick hydration fix, use a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that naturally occurs in your body and holds 1,000 times its weight in water. It even pulls moisture from the air into the skin, instantly hydrating it and leaving you with a gorgeous glow, like Jourdan Dunn's below. Try Peter Thomas Roth Viz-1000 Intensive Hyaluronic Acid Complex.
Stress causes skin issues to flare up regardless of what you're prone to, whether it's acne, psoriasis, or eczema. When it comes to acne, stress releases cortisol, which can throw off the other hormones in your body and cause breakouts on your face or body. Stress can also disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut. That can then show up on your skin in the form of acne, Damboragian says.
Say Good-Bye to Blemishes: Practice deep breathing (take a big breath that fills your belly, hold for few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth) to calm any anxiety. Damboragian also suggests downloading the meditation app Headspace and engaging in meditation exercises for 10 minutes. Drinking a lot of water and eating a well-balanced diet are important too, since your body can't handle stress well if it's not properly nourished. Fruits, vegetables, and high-quality proteins like grass-fed meats are also crucial (they keep a balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut), as is cutting down on sugar.
To cover zits in a pinch, use a concealer that comes in a tube so you only touch fresh product that is squeezed out. Try Illuminarè Concealing Mineral Foundation, which offers shades from light to dark.
4. Rashes and Hives
Both are both caused by a dysbiosis, aka an imbalance in your gut. They crop up when stress takes over and too much bad bacteria outweighs the good.
Calm Your Skin: Breathing exercises can help minimize the chances of getting a rash or hives when you're stressed, but to keep both at bay, consult your doctor. Ask if you should be taking medical-grade probiotics to balance out the good and bad bacteria in your gut.
If you're heading out for the night, camouflage a hive or rash by patting a little bit of stick concealer onto it with your clean fingertip. Try Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Waterproof Concealer, which has calming and anti-inflammatory properties in it, thanks to vitamins A and E, and soothing Amazonian clay that helps balance your skin.
5. Flushed Face
When you're stressed, you breathe in short, shallow breaths and can even find yourself holding your breath for periods of time, which can lead to flushing and redness, says Doris Day, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in NYC.
Tone Down Redness: Breathe in a calming beauty elixir, like Tata Harper Aromatic Irritability Treatment, which contains chamomile and patchouli, to keep you from feeling super-stressed (You can even think of a happy time in your life to brighten your mood!). It sounds simple, but it's integral to a properly functioning system and lowered stress levels.
The flushing shouldn't last too long (10 minutes max), but to conceal any pink tones on your face immediately, smooth on an anti-redness foundation, like Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF 15, which helps calms the skin and cancel out any redness.
6. Fine Lines
Constantly making certain facial expressions, like furrowing your brows when you're stressed or pursing your lips, can lead to deeper wrinkles in these areas over time, Day says.
Prevent and Blur Lines: Be mindful of making certain unconscious facial expressions when you have a lot on your plate, especially when you're sitting at your desk. Need help training your muscles to relax? If you tend to furrow your brow, put a piece of clear tape (or these Furlesse Elevens Anti-Aging Frown Line Reducing Patches) in between your arches when you're at work. That way when you scrunch up your brow muscle, the tape will crinkle, reminding you to relax it. If pursing your lips is what you struggle with, do the same above your upper lip. After a while, you'll learn to drop the habit. Because, let's be real, how long can you tolerate wearing face tape in public? To minimize the look of any lines you may have now, pat on a silicone-based formula that temporarily fills in fine lines, so your makeup goes on smoothly and doesn't settle into them. Try The Body Shop Drops of Youth WonderBlur.
7. Graying Hair
"If you're predisposed to gray hair, stress can cause the melanin in your hair to stop producing, leaving it gray," Day says. "It can also cause your hair to become thinner in diameter over time."
Maintain Your Color: Talk to your doctor about taking biotin or a B vitamin, which helps to strengthen your hair. Prevent your strands from premature aging by using protein-rich shampoos, like Nexxus Youth Renewal Shampoo and Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Conditioner. Use Rita Hazan Root Concealer to keep any stray grays under wraps between colorings.
8. Thinning Hair
"Stress causes your hair to go from the growing phase to the resting phase to the falling-out phase quicker, accelerating its natural cycle," Day says.
Keep Your Hair on Your Head: Hair loss is usually a reaction to significant physiological stress caused by an extreme change in your diet, medical issues, or sudden lifestyle changes, like switching your birth control, an illness, or, in extreme cases, the stress of breaking up with your boyfriend, Day explains. But there is light at the end of the tunnel: Once the culprit of your hair loss is addressed and under control, your hair will return to its regular growing system and begin to grow and shed normally again. If you notice your hair falling out more than usual, talk to your doctor to make sure nothing serious is going on. For a quick thickening fix, use a thickening serum or spray to create the appearance of fuller hair. Try R+Co. Dallas Thickening Spray.
9. Deep Grooves in Your Nails
Vertical lines are common on nails and usually are linked to aging and, in some cases, a lack in certain vitamins, but they're harmless, Day says. "Horizontal grooves and ridges that run side to side, on the other hand, are called Beau's lines, and they tend to appear when the body is compromised from stress and typically mean there is something more serious going on in your system."
Handle It: If you see these linear lines, make an appointment with your doctor ASAP, since they can be sometimes caused by diabetes, zinc deficiency, syphilis, and vascular disease. In the meantime, do your best to zen out by taking a yoga class or meditating. And if the divots in your nails drive you crazy, conceal them with nail art until the problem is resolved.
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