8 Ways to Calm Stress-Related Skin Irritation, According to an Expert

Let’s face it. Literally. Sometimes we wake up and look in the mirror and that handsome guy who used to stare back at us is looking a wee bit like a stand-in for Deadpool. This time of year may leave our largest organ — our skin, that is — especially vulnerable. Lots of partying over the holidays. Too much sun exposure during a tropical escape. Too much sun and wind combined at a ski weekend. Sometimes just a change of routine, like a change in diet for a New Year’s resolution, or the stress of a new job can trigger breakouts or leave our skin looking red, chapped, dry, and sad. 

We spoke to Sarah Kugelman of Skyn Iceland about her skin calming process when it comes to stress-related skin irritation. Kugelman speaks from experience. She was a mover and shaker in the beauty industry who became increasingly intrigued by the connection between stress and skin. She recognized that if stress could impact internal health, it could also manifest externally. When Kugelman, herself, became critically ill as a result of chronic stress, her immune system was so weakened that she ended up in the hospital, and decided it was time to make a life change.

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Drazen_ / Getty Images

While visiting Iceland as a part of her healing journey, Kugelman discovered the country’s pure, unspoiled water, air, and plants—the epitome of a calm, clean, low-stress environment. There she was inspired to create her Skyn Iceland collection. We chatted with Kugelman about her suggestions for how guys can handle unexpected bouts of ugly. 

“One thing that guys often do when they have a dry skin condition or acne is throw a lot of product on, trying whatever’s in the medicine cabinet,” says Kugelman. “That actually confuses your skin and exacerbates the problem. Just keep it simple.” 

Kugelman recommends a daily regimen of natural products that are 100 percent vegan and non-toxic. 

Best Anti-Stress and Anti-Skin Irritation Products

Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash – $30
Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash

“Men gravitate to our Glacial Face Wash,” says Kugelman. “It’s not only a great cleanser, but it’s also creamy, foamy, and lathery so it’s great for shaving, too. Skin won’t get irritated and it has a cooling sensation.” 

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Skyn the Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion – $45
Skyn the Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion

Kugelman also recommends that guys use a targeted moisturizer. “Men are not always educated about moisturizers and will use products that are heavy and pore clogging. Those products are fine for your hands or body, but not for the face.” This cooling daily lotion feels great after shaving, plus it has willow bark that purifies the skin and helps prevent ingrown hairs. “It also promotes ‘microcirculation,’ which pulls toxins away from the skin,” says Kugelman, “great for both acne-prone and dry skin types.” 

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Skyn Icelandic Relief Eye Cream – $45
Skyn Icelandic Relief Eye Cream

“Men don’t really think about their eye area, which ages the fastest,” Kugelman cautions. “Especially if you’re outdoors enjoying winter sports, you’ll wear a hat and scarf to cover up just about everything on your face but the eyes. Eye cream is not a typical part of most guys’ skin care regimen.” But it should be.

Skyn’s eye cream is not heavy or greasy and promises high performance with a light touch. Don’t tell your bros, but it also has a bit of cotton powder to add brightness and reduce imperfections. Use it all around the eye, not just on those bags underneath. 

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Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask – $58
Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask

Clay can help balance, purify, and clarify your face. Fresh’s additional sandalwood oil has astringent properties that help calm skin (everyone, repeat after me: “Ohmmmm”). A multitasking product, you can use Fresh as a face mask (apply to clean, damp skin. leave on for three to five minutes, then rinse), a face wash (massage a small amount onto damp skin, then rinse), or as a spot treatment on breakouts (dab on the affected area, let dry, rinse). 

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Dr. Rogers Restore Healing Balm – $30
Dr. Rogers Restore Healing Balm

This little tube packs a wallop. Made from 100-percent plant-based ingredients, this soothing balm targets eczema symptoms, dryness, chapped lips, burns, scrapes, and tattoo healing. It even comes in handy for taming pesky flyaways and frizzy hair! 

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Marlowe No. 123 Men’s Facial Moisturizer – $12
Marlowe No. 123 Men’s Facial Moisturizer

We like Marlowe’s product line because it’s paraben- and phthalate-free, but it also incorporates green tea extract (among other things) to protect from environmental stresses, willow bark to reduce inflammation, and deep sea algae extract to soothe sensitive and inflamed skin. 

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Bamboo Charcoal Deep Cleanse Detoxifying Soap Bar – $12
Herbivore Botanicals, Bamboo Charcoal Deep Cleanse Detoxifying Soap Bar

We’ve talked here before about the mysterious cleansing properties of charcoal. Herbivore’s bar soap is a gentle cleanser that cleans and cares for oily, combination and blemish-prone skin types. It deeply cleanses as it detoxifies, and is naturally exfoliating. Use this on the rest of your body once you’ve gotten that kisser straightened out. 

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Dynamic Health Liquid Vitamin C – $8
Dynamic Health Liquid Vitamin C

OK, so to be honest? The jury is still out on this one, but an Oregon State University study suggests that Vitamin C, applied topically, may help with wound healing, dry skin, and may even be helpful in treating sun damage and wrinkles. Try splashing a little of this mixture on your skin and report back to us. Also take a tablespoon on a daily basis, just in case. 

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