Wednesday 4th November marks Stress Awareness Day in the UK, which aims to reduce the stigma around discussing our struggles with stress, and to promote the importance of stress reduction for individuals and organisations. This year, Stress Awareness Day comes at a pivotal point as England prepares to enter another nationwide lockdown in the run up to Christmas, after a year which has seen the pandemic cause more stress than any time in recent memory.
The mental health impact of the pandemic has been widely discussed, with the isolation of lockdown and the restriction of freedoms undoubtedly contributing to rising levels of stress. But how has the stress of the pandemic affected our skin?
Stress can cause a variety of skin conditions to flare up, exacerbating or even causing conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and atopic dermatitis. However, stress can even change the shape of our face and the quality of our skin, as cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, is the natural enemy of collagen, and breaks down the connective tissue that keeps our skin taut and firm.
With this in mind, cosmetic treatment firm Uvence (uvence.co) commissioned national research to determine just how impactful the stress of 2020 has been on people’s appearance and skin:
38% (17.4 million) people in Britain think that 2020 has aged them more than any year
14% (6,000,000) feel that they look at least 5 years older as a result of the stress and anxiety brought about by lockdown and the pandemic
36% (14,500,000) say they have visible signs of stress and premature ageing, which is most apparent around their eyes
33% (14.8 million) say that signs of stress and ageing on their face and hair negatively impacts their mental health
7% (3 million) say that, because of the coronavirus pandemic, they are now considering a cosmetic procedure in 2020/2021 to combat signs of ageing and stress
Dr. Olivier Amar, one of the leading aesthetic surgeons in the UK and CMO of cosmetic treatment pioneers Uvence, believes that the impact of lockdown, and the resulting stress, has had a considerable impact on our skin, appearance and self-image of thousands of people across the country. Now, Dr. Amar discusses how our appearance can impact our mental health and self imag:
“Stress, along with diet and sleep, is among the most influential factors on our appearance and our skin quality. High levels of stress alone can have devastating effects on how vibrant, toned and healthy our skin looks, and can lead to a host of skin conditions, as well as the development of wrinkles, lines and sagging skin.
It’s perhaps of no surprise then that 2020 has had such an impact on our self-image and appearance – Uvence’s research suggests that a huge proportion of the population are struggling with premature ageing, undue levels of stress, and negative mental health impacts as a result of their decline in their skin condition and appearance. Seeing that over 3 million people are considering cosmetic treatments as a direct result of the pandemic is astonishing.
Now, with the country facing a second lockdown in what is a much more stressful working period, with less daylight, and as a result, lowered levels of activity, it is vital that people take the opportunity on Stress Awareness Day to take time for themselves, and practice self-care to help combat the rising levels of stress they are likely to experience towards the end of the year.
For those who are considering surgery to improve their appearance, I would also advise them to engage in a number of consultations and explore all of the options available before diving in. At Uvence, for example, we are able to offer 100% natural, rejuvenative skin treatments, which do not require any invasive surgery. When the UK exited the first national lockdown, we received a huge number of enquiries – we are now offering a waiting list, to ensure that we are able to cater to as many people as possible following the second national lockdown.”