When the humble face mask made its comeback on the beauty scene taking half an hour out of the day to indulge in an at-home beauty treatment might have been seen as a frivolous expense. But with an increasing number of us searching for ways to unwind, switch off and grab those moments of mindfulness, the lines between the wellness and beauty worlds are blurring. In the future, beauty products that not only benefit our skin but helps us destress, are not only set to become the norm, but they’re also set to become a necessity.
As the beauty industry taps into the idea that beauty innovations should make us look good and feel good, we’ll start to see the rise of more lifestyle-related products that have been created to help address the demands of everyday living explains Katy Bacon, education manager for Murad Australasia Pacific. For many of us, our beauty regimen has become embedded in our wider wellness routine. “Skincare is not superficial because it is healthcare,” says Bacon. “When you have beautiful skin, it’s a sign you have a healthy body and mind.”
While genetics will always play a key role in our skin health, the impact that our lifestyle has on our skin cannot be understated. “There is really exciting momentum driving a shift in how we should look not just at our skin’s health, but total body wellness and the effects of our lifestyle (both good and bad) have upon both,” says Bacon. Tracy May-Harriot, global director of education for Elizabeth Arden Professional and Priori, says it’s a movement that’s only going to grow.
“We all know there is a great connection between our physical and mental wellness and what we see on the surface of the skin,” she says. While May-Harriott says it’s something we’ve known for years, the current wellness revolution is bringing the concept of overall wellbeing for healthy skin into mainstream conversations. “We all know how our skin looks after one sleepless night or a period of stress – our skin is a mirror image of what is happening inside both physically and mentally.”
As more of us begin to understand that healthy skin is a reflection of our overall wellness, we will continue to see wellness and topical skincare products become one says Bacon. “Countless studies have demonstrated that the lifestyle choices we make have a significant influence on the length and the quality of our lives and how we look,” she says. And while we all know eating better, sleeping better, getting more exercise and coping with stress can improve our wellbeing, with our always-on lifestyles, only a small percentage of us manage to do so.
Stress alone not only exacerbates a number of serious health problems but is thought to cause mental health problems, high blood pressure and even heart disease. Bacon says that ‘cultural stress’ – the unrelenting day-to-day stress of modern living – and our growing awareness of the impact it is having on the declining health of people of all ages is driving the wellness trend. In late 2018 Murad launched Revitalixir Recovery Serum – an innovation skincare formulation designed to minimise the negative impact that damaging stress hormones have on our skin.
An overworked and overstressed global population, means that there’s increasing research being dedicated to ingredients and products that address the side effects of stress and induce relaxation, says Emma Hobson, education manager for Dermalogica Asia, Australia and New Zealand. “Stress has a negative impact both on the body as well as the skin, not just from lack of sleep but the hormonal imbalance stress causes.” Finding a spare 30 minutes to meditate or practice mindfulness techniques in an already jam-packed schedule can be tricky, therefore it makes sense that stress-busting beauty innovations that combine the best of both worlds – beating stress and treating skin concerns – could play a key role in helping us manage stress.
“Many brands are creating ‘rituals’ that you can perform using your specialised skincare products,” says May-Harriott. “These products are enticing us to perform things like self-massage using a specialised serum or moisturiser, or masks and balms that melt onto the surface of the skin and are designed to be used with a pressure point technique and a focus on deep breathing and taking a ‘minute’ out of your life,” she explains.
Game-changing ingredients that work to undo the impact stress can have on our skin will also make an appearance in the beauty cabinets of our future. “A good example of this is wild indigo, a native Indian plant used in the Ayurvedic tradition for its anti-inflammatory qualities,” says Hobson. “It’s been cited to de-stress the skin by reducing cortisol levels,” she explains. “Reducing stress and fatigue in the skin allows the skin to function optimally, reduce fine lines, help prevent premature ageing and have a healthy glow.”
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for overall wellbeing and combating stress, and there is a growing demand for topical products that help aid relaxation and improve quality of sleep says Bacon. “Research has shown that poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging and weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself at night,” she explains. “Lack of restorative sleep can lead to increased stress hormones in the body that increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions, slow down the body’s natural regeneration of skin cells and reduce skin’s ability to retain water, which all have a negative impact on the skin’s appearance.”
Getting your beauty sleep might sound like a cliche, but Bacon says it’s far from it. “As we sleep, much-needed cell renewal, detoxification, DNA and barrier repair processes activate. The tell-tale signs of poor rest and sleep deprivation include dehydration, inflammation, dryness, loss of elasticity, dullness and deeper wrinkles.” Later this year Murad will launch Night Fix Enzyme. “It’s a treatment designed to repair skin overnight to give you the radiant, healthier-looking skin associated with a good night’s sleep,” explains Bacon.
May-Harriott believes that in the beauty world we’re all starting to expect products that come with a feel-good factor that can be both felt and seen. “It’s driven by idealistic demands of if you look good you surely have to feel the benefit too,” she says. And while she believes our beauty routine can help us conquer some of the unwanted side effects of stress, she is concerned about how much we are turning to products for a feel-good factor “Confidence is a big part of looking good. We need to take care of what is happening inside and add our own aspect to the idea of feeling good,” she says. “We need to remind ourselves that we can control a lot of what makes us feel good and it doesn’t always come in the form of a product.”
Healthy skin is unlikely to package up in a pill any time soon, therefore the key to overall wellness is a holistic approach to wellbeing. “At Murad we believe there is a powerful connection between skin, body and mind,” says Bacon. A thorough skincare routine, no matter how stress-busting it might be, is only one part of the equation. “ If you are wanting to improve your lifestyle and be a healthier version of you, I recommend taking care of your skin with clinically proven efficacious products, eating a water-rich diet (think whole foods and grains with limited processed foods and refined sugars), and have a stress management plan – something you enjoy such as yoga, meditation or creative outlets to help reduce excessive cortisol which contributes to premature ageing.”