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How stress is ruining your looks* *and what you can do about it now

Feeling stressed? Of course you are. Let’s face it, with most of us having mortgages to pay, work deadlines to meet and a stubborn half a stone we'd love to lose, our day-to-day life is often the source of some stressful situations. Nothing new there. But did you know that stress isn’t just stopping you from sleeping, it’s also giving you wrinkles, ruining your hair and – you know that pesky half a stone that won’t budge- yep, you can thank it for that too. Basically it’s giving you more to stress over. So how exactly is stress interfering with your looks? Oh, let us count the ways…

It’s giving you acne: If you’re genetically prone to a particular skin problem, stress can trigger a flare-up. So, whether it’s acne, psoriasis, or eczema that’s your nemesis, when you’re feeling stressed out, you can expect to say hello to your little dormant friend. Stress also triggers the release of cortisol in our bodies, which can throw our other hormones off balance, leading skin to break out in spots. Another thing stress is responsible for is disrupting the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut, which – again - can lead to acne. And just to top it all off, stress usually leads to a lack of sleep, and as bedtime is when our skin cells naturally turnover, stress can disrupt our skin’s ability to rejuvenate itself (read, look good.) So as if we weren’t already stressed enough, we can add bad skin to our list of problems. Thanks for that.

It’s stopping your hair from growing: Stress can cause sudden hair loss by, quite literally, flipping the switch on the hair follicle’s growth stage. So if your hair seems to have stopped growing, forget spending money on products that help to encourage hair growth – you might need to target your stress levels first.

It’s giving you wrinkles: When we live in a chronic state of stress, our bodies are constantly producing the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for collagen breakdown, among other things. You can guess where we’re going with this: it’s harder for the skin to repair itself, to form healthy collagen and to deal with damage. Hello, wrinkles.

It's making you fat: Finally, aside from the fact that many of us turn to comfort eating when we’re stressed out, that pesky little hormone cortisol is also responsible for weight gain, and is thought in particular to contribute to the gathering of fat around our abs. So you can say goodbye to those dreams of a six-pack until you’ve chilled out a bit.

So now we’ve established how stress is ruining your looks, how should you tackle it? There’s obviously a huge range of options available to you – from breathing methods, exercise, meditation and a change in nutrition, to homeopathic remedies, but we’ve turned our focus towards beauty products, which contain certain ingredients designed to make us feel balanced, calmer and more serene. Here are the three that we genuinely believe in:

Sniff Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Essential Oil to slow down the breath and calm the mind. One of the active compounds in Frankincense is Incensole Acetate, which is a neuroactive chemical believed to actively influence the nervous system, alleviating feelings of anxiety.  If you’re a fan of meditation you can incorporate it in to your routine or add a few drops to a tissue for on-the-go soothing. We like to keep a bottle in our desk drawer for when work gets tough.

Sleep tends to take a backseat when we’re stressed – and then ruined sleep just stresses us out even more. Break the vicious cycle with a product that’s recently received a lot of press attention: Lush’s Sleepy Body Lotion. Elevating the brand’s status from pre-teen fave to on the radar of savvy, hard-working women who need desperately to unwind, this much-lauded lavender-infused body lotion really does work. Use after a long hot bath, to double up the zed-inducing benefits.

Scentered De-Stress Therapy Balm* is our hero product when we want our spirits lifting. This skin-nourishing balm is blended from moringa and shea butters (that’s our skin sorted) and is scented with uplifting citrus and herbs - Neroli, Mandarin, Sweet Brazilian Orange- and balancing floral notes of Jasmine, Rose and Mimosa, which make for a mind-calming fragrance. It’s practically therapy in a bottle. Plus the leak-free design means we can keep it in our handbag without it spilling. So, that's one less thing to worry about...

* included in your September Roccabox

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