A milestone marks the start of a new chapter—be it a new job, getting married or having a baby. Often, these life changes can have a huge effect on us, both emotionally and psychologically. It should be of no surprise then, that these key episodes can also manifest on the skin—our inner well-being can be literally written all over our faces.
Dubbed ‘psychodermatology’, a new branch of medicine addresses the bond between our mind and skin. “Our skin is intimately connected to our brains through millions of nerves, which act as sensors and activators,” explains UK-based dermatologist Dr Anthony Bewley. “For instance, if we become embarrassed, some of us will blush. The skin’s immune system, sebum production and general well-being are also partly under the control of the nerves, so what we feel emotionally can be mirrored both immediately and in the long term on our skin.” But, knowing what to expect, and when, may help limit the impact.
SKIN CONCERNS IN YOUR TEENAGE YEARS
Puberty can be tough on skin due to hormonal imbalances. “Excess oil production created by a surge in hormones, which stimulate the sebaceous glands, causes clogged follicles and breakouts. This can also be induced by stress, such as revising for an exam,” says Dr Howard Murad, associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA. A poor diet of junk food coupled with bad sleeping habits can also set off temperamental skin.
SKINCARE RULES FOR YOUR TEENAGE YEARS
Attack spots: As tempting as it is, avoid squeezing zits; it spreads bacteria and causes scarring and pigmentation. “Look for spot treatments containing salicylic acid, which heals and prevents acne without over-drying,” Dr Murad says. He also recommends using an anti-blemish cleanser and regular exfoliation—just steer clear of grainy scrubs on active breakouts, as these can spread infection and worsen spots. Non-comedogenic masks that target oil without drying the skin can also help. Use kaolin or volcanic clay-based masks to unclog pores and soak up sebum.
Try: Dermalogica Oil Control Lotion; GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment
Call the doctor: Aggressive acne should be assessed by a dermatologist, who may put you on a course of facials, recommend birth control pills to regulate hormones or prescribe an antibiotic cream.