Have Stressed Skin? 24 Products That Will Help You

With this guidance in mind, here are the expert tips for dealing with concerns that come from stressed skin—and the products to treat them.

If You’ve Got Redness

If you are prone to rosacea, Devgan suggests pairing your routine way back and adding simple, hard-working solutions. First, eliminate any products that may cause irritation, and consider using a retinoid. “Retinol increases the rate of cell turnover in the skin,” she says, “making it great for a variety of concerns but specifically, normalizing the equilibrium of skin that’s acne or rosacea prone.” While the topical is known to cause two to three weeks of peeling or dryness, now may be an optimal time to start. “It’s a good opportunity to accomplish something that’s been on the back burner,” she says, and recommends Differin’s solution, since it may cause less flaking than other over-the-counter retinols.

Next, Devgan recommends adding an emollient moisturizer into your lineup. Look for “any kind of facial cream that’s not going to be too heavy or rich, one that will bring back the barrier protection of your skin,” like CeraVe’s healing formula. Should your redness turn into hives or extreme irritation, consider using a hydrocortisone cream, but also get professional help. “You should always tele-consult with your doctor or dermatologist,” she says. “Bumps or a rash may mean something else.” On the cleanser front, the brand’s hydrating face wash would make an excellent addition—a favorite of Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama.

When it comes to redness treatments, experts say serums and masks can help too. “Redness is often a sign of dryness or irritation. Consider adding a soothing serum. If there’s no improvement with this after 2 weeks, see a board-certified dermatologist. There is a chance you’re having a rosacea flare that needs prescription treatment,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elyse Love, who likes the Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum. Otherwise, Hartman recommends the Avène Antirougeurs Calm Soothing Repair Mask “to neutralize redness and soothes irritation using a hydra-nourishing complex.”

And what has helped Garrette heal his own skin? “This serum was a game-changer for me when my skin was stressed and irritated from wearing masks at the beginning of the pandemic,” he says of the Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% + Zinc 2%, though he too is a fan of Dieux’s Deliverance Serum which is also packed with niacinamide. 

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum

Avène Antirougeurs Calm Soothing Repair Mask

Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%

If You’re Breaking Out

According to Devgan, acne and oily skin are the most common side effects of stress. For immediate relief, she recommends using a clarifying cleanser twice a day and avoiding over-exfoliation. “Even though most will want to scrub their face, it sometimes can lead to an overproduction of oil in the skin,” she says. Per board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss, “PanOxyl is a product I keep as a staple in my shower because it has benzoyl peroxide, and anti-bacterial properties that can help calm irritated or stressed-out skin.”

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