Ever wondered if your skin is impacted by stress? Not only is the answer a definite YES, but stress impacts our skin in ways you may not realize. From puffy eyes, to breakouts, to increased reactivity, stress can be expressed in the skin through a variety of responses. Since stress is an inevitable part of life, what can we do?
Today, on National Stress Awareness day (November 2), we want to take a deep dive into this topic of skin and stress with one of our trusted Apoterra partners and Traditional Chinese Medicine Expert, Jordan Jacobs.
In this conversation, we sit down with Jordan Jacobs, a Licensed Acupuncturist, Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Apoterra partner, and the founder of Common Thread Wellness in Texas. Jordan is a dedicated practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) who brings forth a thoughtful approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of our emotions, environment, and physical well-being. Her belief is simple yet profound: “To live a healthy, vibrant, and balanced life, one must embrace the holistic nature of healing.” Let’s dive in!
APOTERRA: As both an esthetician and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, what is it that you wish people knew about stress & skin?
JORDAN JACOBS: “After 18 years working as an esthetician and 7 as an acupuncturist, it has never been more visible how much stress can show up on the face. Whether it’s from lack of sleep (under eyes) , lack of hydration (dryness), poor nutrition/high stress/cortisol (breakouts)—our face says it all.
APO: What can Traditional Chinese Medicine teach us about being able to understand the health of our skin and its connection to stress?
JJ: ”In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) there is a beautiful history of facial diagnosis/reading. Often the practitioner is looking at your overall Shen or "spirit", as well as the color of your complexion, and where you hold your emotions on your face. For instance, joy or sadness lines can be found around the corner of the eyes depending on which direction they go. Anger or questioning the world can present as well defined 11 lines between the brows. Our purpose lines show up as our jowls and caretaker lines around the lips.
The face can say so much about how we feel internally.
As a practitioner I encourage my clients to take a moment to look themselves in the eyes daily. Smile back at yourself and practice a verbal mantra. One perhaps, that says "you are enough"or "you matter", "you are capable". Whatever it is, make it sacred. That’s your time, and generally the only person standing in your way of allowing it is you.“
APO: That is so powerful. What is your favorite skincare ritual for distressing?
JJ: “I could oil cleanse all day long. Sometimes I do! As a teenager I suffered from acne and hated touching my face or letting anyone else touch my face. In hindsight I was doing it all wrong. Using the "go to” acne cures of the 80’s/90’s really wrecked my skin's healthy microbiome, leading to more breakouts and irritation.
Now I can see and feel the benefits of oil cleansing. It creates the perfect slip for massage. Oftentimes I will grab one of the many gua sha tools I have on my bathroom counter to help enhance the benefits of moving stagnant fluid and encouraging healthy blood flow. Sometimes I do an inner buccal massage to really hammer out jowl lines and release the jaw and sinuses. I also love a weekly mask ritual.”
APO: And as a Traditional Chinese Medicine expert, what do you think of aromatherapy? Is it useful or just hype?
JJ: I know essential oils have been getting some pushback in the health and beauty space, and while I do think many trends can spiral out, I must admit I love utilizing small amounts of high quality essential oils in my treatments. Often I take a drop or two and place it in the palm of my hand and then hold it over my clients face (with permission) so they can take in the aroma that elicits relaxation. It’s amazing how much a smell can invoke a memory. Apoterra has done a beautiful job incorporating blends into their line without overdoing it.
APO: Do you think that your skin care routine can help with stress management?
JJ: “100% absolutely! All day we go go go, with many people not resting well at night. This can lead to waking with a stiff neck, clenched jaw, headache, fatigue, or puffy tired eyes. We can shift that by taking a moment to consciously connect to our self care/skincare routine.”
APOTERRA: What does your go-to routine for stress management look like?
Jordan lays it out for us:
TCM Pro Skin Stress Tip #1: Oil Cleanse with the Vetiver Illuminating Oil Cleanser.
Release the stressful tensions in your facial muscles by taking your time to massage your skin and enjoy the grounding aromatherapy.
“Personally, I find it so therapeutic to take 5-10 mins every morning and night to massage my oil cleanser into areas of my neck, face and chest that feel tight, tender, and locked up. I can warm them with repetitive motion, moving all the way down the neck, and out each side of the clavicle bone. When I get back up around my nose, eyes, and forehead I pause and breathe several long slow intentional breaths. Then I repeat. Apoterra products make this so enjoyable and easy. The Vetiver cleaner is super grounding. Encouraging me to get centered and step into my 10min “me time”.
TCM Pro Skin Stress Tip #2: Mask 2-3x per week with the Hibiscus Exfoliating Mud. Skin can look dull when stressed due to tensions we hold in our bodies such as our necks. Supporting the circulation in your skin with a bit of honey tapping can really help bring a bit of life back into your skin.
“2-3x a week I incorporate the Hibiscus exfoliating mud. I add warm water and blend in my hands, then move to my face, massaging for a few minutes, then letting it rest. I love applying the honey tapping technique to help engage stagnant lymph to move out.”
TCM Pro Skin Stress Tip #3: Hydrate and moisturize with Neroli Clarifying Complexion Mist and Vitamin C Regenerative Balm. When skin is stressed, it needs a solid foundation of hydration and moisture to support a healthy skin’s barrier and microbiome. Keep your hydration and moisture balanced with the right combo of mist and oil/balm for your skin’s needs.
“Rinse, then mist with rose or neroli mist, and finally I apply one of the lovely three facial oils or the holy grail vitamin C balm. This intentional pause is certain to send you into your work day or night's rest with more ease and less urgency.”
At Apoterra Skincare, we believe in a holistic approach to understanding skincare that considers full body physical and mental health to illuminate our skin’s responses. By unraveling what ties stress and skincare together, we can understand that the glow we seek extends beyond the layers of our complexion to include full body and mind wellness. When we take conscious steps to Putting the Care back in Skincare, we strongly believe that skincare can be an invaluable act of self-care.
Make sure to follow TCM expert and esthetician, Jordan and Common Thread Wellness for all your skin and stress needs. Let us know if you have any questions on how to put the care back into your skincare.