I am a big fan of gentle skin care.
After losing my husband to cancer not too long ago, I used it to help myself heal.
Not just because it feels good, even though it does. And not just because it’s a good way to take care of yourself during a difficult time.
But also because I learned that grief can have significant negative effects on our skin.
Grief is a mind and body experience
We have noted in previous articles that stress can cause skin problems like breakouts, rashes, rashes, redness, irritation, dry skin, etc.
Grief can cause stress, leading to similar skin problems. But grief is often even more damaging because it involves so many emotions.
Indeed, grief is a whole-body experience. Harvard Health note that the death of someone you love can affect “both mentally and physically,” potentially causing insomnia, loss of appetite, and general aches and pains. It is also commonly associated with digestive problems, fatigue, a suppressed immune system (and increased susceptibility to infections), weight changes, etc.
You may have heard of “broken heart syndrome”. Also known as stress cardiomyopathy, it occurs when someone experiences an emotionally stressful event that causes sudden, severe chest pain. Other symptoms may include changes in heart rate and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack – but without blocked arteries. However, this syndrome can lead to short-term myocardial failure.
So it’s clear that grief can have a huge impact on our bodies – and our skin.
How grief affects the skin and why you need gentle skin care
The main way that grief affects the skin is through stress.
In a 2015 study, researchers studied about 1,500 married people 65 and older to investigate how the loss and death of a spouse was related to hormone levels. stress, cortisol, in the body.
The results show that stressful life events such as the loss of a loved one are associated with stress-related hormone levels (such as a spike in cortisol) for longer periods of time than researchers previously believed. this.
In other words, you may experience elevated cortisol levels for more than a week or two, which can have devastating effects on your skin.
Scientists have discovered a complex relationship between stress and many skin diseases like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, as well as skin problems like acne and dryness. Cortisol and other stress hormones can increase inflammation in the skin. When these hormones remain elevated for long periods of time, they are also associated with impaired skin barrier function and premature aging.
Grief can increase inflammation, gentle skin care can reduce
Some studies have shown that grief itself can increase inflammation.
For example, in 2019, researchers studied participants who had recently lost a spouse, to determine if there were any changes in inflammation. The results showed that widowers had higher levels of inflammation than those in the general population, especially if they were depressed.
Blood tests also showed that those whose bereavement was experiencing higher levels of grief also had higher blood levels of an anti-inflammatory marker than those with less grief. People with more depressive symptoms also had higher levels of blood inflammation.
And you know that high inflammation leads to many skin problems, including pimples, redness, irritation, rashes, eczema flares, etc. Worse, inflammation damages the protective barrier. outer layer of the skin, making it more vulnerable to environmental toxins and more susceptible to damage and aging.
How Gentle Skin Care Can Help You Cope with Suffering
There are many ways to deal with grief and help yourself through it. Some good general tips include going for a daily walk, talking to a counselor, being gentle and patient with yourself, and trying to live one minute each day.
I’ve found that paying attention to my skin care can give me a comfortable respite from grief, while also helping me feel a little better. Here are some steps I used to put this into practice.
1. Take a moment for gentle skin care.
For most of my life, although I’ve always worked in the beauty industry, I tend to be quick in my skincare routine. We are all busy and have places to go and things to do. Sometimes I pride myself on simply fitting in with my skin care routine!
Now, I note at least a couple of times a week to make time for my skin care. For example, I can cleanse and tone my skin, then apply a mask for 15 minutes. Or I can simply take my time applying my body scrub.
It’s amazing how much difference this simple attitude change can make. Skin care becomes a way to slow down, relax and breathe.
2. Breathe deeply while applying the products on your skin.
Deep breathing is a great way to deal with stress and grief, but it can be hard to find time to do it.
I now focus on my breathing during my skincare routine. While cleaning, I breathe in and out slowly and evenly. Studies have shown how calming this can be, and I have experienced benefits when my nerves are a little less tense afterwards.
3. Focus on reducing inflammation.
Since both stress and grief cause inflammation, it’s time to focus on taking care of your skin while it heals.
I am delighted that our CV Skinlabs products are specially formulated to tackle inflammation. They all contain our exclusive Tri-Rescue Complex, specially created to help reduce inflammation and protect skin from environmental influences.
Whenever I notice a little redness or irritation appearing, I spray some of our Rescue & Soothing Spray to calm it down.
4. Good moisturizer to reduce grief-related skin problems.
Dry skin is one of the most common reactions to grief and stress. When the outer protective barrier is damaged and compromised, the skin loses more moisture from the air and as a result becomes drier.
I use both our Restorative Body Lotion and Soothing Moisture Cream to combat this effect, and I’m proud to say my skin is softer and smoother thanks to it. Both of these products have anti-inflammatory ingredients to help fight stress, then they have natural oils, antioxidants and fatty acids to moisturize and protect, allowing that outer barrier to repair itself. return.
5. Get creative with your gentle skin care.
Sometimes when going through a very difficult period of grief, I find that adding a few extra care touches to my skin care routine makes me feel better.
For example, I can light a candle with my favorite scent and have it flicker nearby while wearing my hydrating mask. Or I want to put on some soothing but uplifting music to help lift my mood during my oatmeal bath.
You can be as creative as you like. Maybe you put a new picture in the bathroom where you normally apply your skin care products, added some new curtains to the windows, or got a new floor rug to lay out. Perhaps an illuminated mirror would be better, or a special skin brush to help you exfoliate.
We often think these things are too self-indulgent, but when it comes to grief, you have to take care of yourself. Your body and mind are suffering, and it is your responsibility to ease that suffering and be there for yourself however you can.
I still miss my husband terribly, but there are moments – when taking care of my skin, for example – when I can just come back to myself and feel restored.
Do you find that gentle skin care makes you feel better?