When it comes to our skincare, there are so many things to take into consideration. But, do you ever think about your skin’s wellness? It’s not only about what you’re putting on your face and into your body, but it’s also how you’re emotionally treating your skin. I was recently invited to the #NoMakeupWakeup event with Simple Skincare and I had a chance to meet one of their experts Dr. Josie Howard. We discussed the relationship between stress, emotional wellbeing, and skin health (psychodermatology). We were asked to take her Skin Wellbeing Survey and I just knew I had to share it with all of you!
Dr. Howard is a board-certified psychiatrist with a practice in general adult psychiatry. She specializes in psychodermatology and speaks regularly on this topic. And she has published multiple medical journal articles and book chapters, and has been featured in Oprah Magazine. Not only was I immediately drawn to her, but I instantly made the connection between my own stresses and my skin health.
It’s not something that we normally think about either. But, the minute I took this survey below, I just knew a lot of my skin issues happened during some really high-stress times. And I realized a lot of this stress I added to myself or I allowed it to happen. Oh…the things you realize after the age of 35.
After taking the survey, I immediately asked Dr. Howard and Simple Skincare if I could share it with all of you—and she said yes! If you’re wondering, I’m a mix of Type B and Type D. Take the Skin Wellbeing Survey below and feel free to share your results with us in the comments below!
For each question, circle the letter that most closely aligns with your personality.
SCENARIO 1: It’s Friday night, and you invited your significant other’s parents over for dinner. You are running late following a busy day at work and while driving home, someone cuts you off at the traffic light, causing you to slam on the brakes. All of the groceries you just purchases are now all over the car floor.
A) I shout “you stupid &*#%^@!” I feel my heart rate rise and I panic about the juice spilling all over the floor. I make a rude gesture and curse at the other driver behind the window. When I get home, I don’t mention it to my partner but I’m actually quite resentful for having to cook this dinner int he first place, especially following my ordeal on the drive home. I’m not my usual self at dinner.
B) I take a deep breath, pull over, and put all of the groceries back in their bags. There are more important things to worry about than this passing inconvenience.
C) I yell at the other driver, and as soon as the lights change, I pull right behind the car, flash my lights furiously and let him know that I AM NOT HAPPY. I end up feeling guilty and embarrassed for overreacting and I stay awake that night thinking about it.
D) I break down into tears, pull over, and re-bag the groceries. I don’t say anything to the other driver (or make an inappropriate gesture) but I am left fuming and my heart is pounding. Later, upon reflection, I’m able to let it go after I realize that no one was hurt and it really wasn’t a big deal because there are no lasting consequences.
SCENARIO 2: Think about three good things in your life right now. How easy was it and how did it make you feel?
C) It stressed me out! I kept thinking about all the things I need to fix in my life.
D) My first reaction was to think about all the things that aren’t working. But, as I continued to reflect, I realized that things aren’t perfect and overall, I’m pretty happy with how things are at the moment.
A) I didn’t understand why you were asking this question? It’s personal!
B) I couldn’t narrow it to just three. There are a lot of good things going on in my life right now. I’m grateful for a lot and am lucky to have such great people in my life.
SCENARIO 3: You discover your company is relocating to another city. What is you first reaction?
D) Initially, I panic and freak out; this is definitely not something i was expecting to happen! After talking it out with some friends, I decide to go for it and see what happens.
B) I feel unsettled, but I see this an as opportunity to prove myself and show my supervisors what I’m made of.
A) I’m mad. If I had wanted to move I would have asked for a transfer. I’m tired of working hard for these people. I give up.
C) I don’t know what to think right now. I’m going to call my partner to complain and then throw in the towel on doing any more work today.
SCENARIO 4: The day before you big date/presentation/etc., you break out with a huge zit in the middle of your face that no one will miss. What do you do?
A) You blame your (spouse, partner, boss) for stressing you out and causing this to happen at such a critical time!
B) Dab on some concealer and go. Bummer but everybody has breakouts sometimes!
C) Angrily squeeze and pick at your zit until it looks far worse that before you started.
D) Stay home and hide. I’d rather miss out than have people see me like this.
Now, take the most common letter of the answers you chose above and match it with Dr. Howard’s answers and tips for you below!
- You tend to react to stressful situations with anger (and aggression). Start by increasing your awareness of these reactions.
- Your stress will almost certainly affect your wellbeing and could very well be showing up in your skin. The constant disruption of stress hormones is likely to negatively affect how you feel and look.
- My tip for you is—Whenever you notice that you are reacting in this way, take 3 deep breaths. This time out gives you a chance to name the emotional response you are having (
“I feel angry and resentful”) and acknowledge what you are feeling.
- In doing so, this can break the cycle of automatic reactions that can be so harmful.
- When you follow your skin care routine, use this as an opportunity to cultivate forgiveness and compassion.
- You have good coping skills. Although you have stressful days you have a balanced way of dealing with them.
- You connect well with people and can focus on the positives in life and don’t let the negatives get you down.
- You may have the occasional irritation or dry patch, but I’m guessing it doesn’t get you down. Chances are your reactions to life likely minimize your stress related skin problems. Of course, this doesn’t make you immune to skin irritations so a regular skincare routine is still essential.
- Keep going, you are doing really well on the whole and nobody is perfect.
- Give yourself time to appreciate just being you rather than striving to stick to the everyday grind.
- Make time for skincare routine (morning and especially night!) so you continue to look after yourself.
- You tend to react to stress with anger followed by guilt and remorse for your anger.
- Your emotional reactions are most certainly affecting your wellbeing and likely showing up in your skin.
- Refer to Type A, but for you, learning to forgive yourself is also essential. In the moment it can be helpful to remind yourself how you feel after you react.
- Use your skincare routines as an opportunity to focus your mind of forgiveness of yourself and others and acceptance of their and your imperfections.
- You tend to have a strong emotional reaction to stressors, but you are able to calm yourself down and rationalize.
- On the whole you are on top of things and doing quite well, mostly, but things can get the better of at times.
- It’s likely you know your stressful times and these are likely to coincide with breakouts and skin sensitivities. If so, you are what psychodermatologists call a “stress responder” and you can use these signs as an indicator to slow down and re-focus on you.
- You need to plan time out to take care of yourself. You may take on too much, plan time to take care of yourself and be kinder to yourself.
- Your task is to plan into your day time to focus on you and set aside time for de-stressing, just 15 minutes each day.
- Use this time to focus on your skincare routine, anything to draw attention to yourself for a short time will help to make you feel better.