There are many things that can impact our skin, some of which we have some kind of say over, others, not so much.
Stress, for example, can cause our skin to misbehave, and sometimes we can remove things from our lives that cause our stress, other times, we can’t. Our hormones also impact our skin, but hormonal events such as puberty, periods, pregnancy and the menopause aren’t that easy to influence.
Diet is another skin-fluencer. Whilst it’s not necessarily true that chocolate causes acne, some things, such as dairy and sugar can cause our skin to break out and flare up, especially if we have a skin condition such as acne.
However, one thing we may not pay much attention to when considering our skin, is our working environment. Probably because there isn’t normally much we can do about it. But also possibly because we might assume that something such as where we work wouldn’t have much effect on our skin.
If we think about it though, spending much of our day in one environment can, and does, have an impact on the health of our skin.
But is there anything we can do about it?
What Workplaces Could Affect Our Skin?
Anything, from working in an indoor environment with harsh air conditioning or dry central heating blasting out all day, to working outdoors in the elements can affect the health and appearance of our skin.
Air conditioning can dry out the skin, leading to dry, irritated skin. On the other hand, artificial, dry heat from office heating systems can also lead to dry, itchy, cracked and inflamed skin.
Working outdoors in elements that range from blazing sunshine to dampness, humidity or freezing winds (sometimes all in one day, thanks to the climate in the UK) will also undoubtedly mean our skin suffers.
Sweating can cause a sweat rash and spots under the skin and UV rays, cold winds and driving rain can all cause inflammation and irritation to exposed skin. Add to that a physically demanding job, friction from clothes and dirt and grime, and it’s the perfect stressed out skin cocktail.
What About Maskne?
But it isn’t just the environment that can affect our skin in the sense of where we work. What we might have to wear to protect our faces and airways might also have an effect.
In the main, this means face masks, which for those of us who have to wear them for hours on end at work, can cause no end of skin related problems.
None more so annoying and upsetting than maskne - acne caused by wearing a face mask or covering. Perhaps, with mask wearing (still necessary) due to the Covid pandemic, this is new to many of us, but spare a thought for doctors, nurses, other health professionals, those who work in factories and food processing plants and anyone working in a dusty or dangerous environment who have to wear them all day long.
We’ve written before about the perils of maskne, so if you’re struggling with mask related acne spots and breakouts, check out our post, Maske: Is Your Covid Mask Making Your Break Out.
Is Your Job Stressing You Out?
Of course we can’t talk about our working environments without also talking about their emotional environment.
Some jobs are inherently stressful. Working in medicine or the emergency services can be stressful and demanding. Then there are high stress financial jobs, where money is trading and changing hands at a rate of zeros that most of us can’t even comprehend.
There are also jobs that whilst not naturally stressful, cause us stress because we have an unempathetic boss, bullying colleagues, colleagues that don’t pull their weight, colleagues that are carried by us and jobs that simply don’t pay the bills.
Stress has many side effects for our skin, not least accelerating the ageing process and affecting our skins’ natural defence barriers. But it can also cause a worsening of acne too, as well as other skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema.
Looking After Our Skin to Minimise the Impact of Our Working Environment
It’s clear - we have to work. Whatever our career choices, the impact of spending eight or so hours in a place where we might sit under an air con unit in an otherwise airless office or being outside all day with whatever the weather decides to do, is going to be noticeable.
So no matter where we work, it’s important that we properly cleanse and moisturise our skin at the end of each working day, even if we don’t or can’t wear makeup to work.
Cleansing using a gentle cream cleanser such as the Sönd Rebalance and Reset Cream Cleanser will remove all traces of dirt, oil, dead skin cells and environmental pollutants, whilst still being kind to the skin.
It won’t strip the natural oils from the skin and it’s pH balanced to suit the unique needs of the skin. Using a battery powered face exfoliator with your cleanser will give your skin an even deeper clean.
Once or twice a week, it’s also helpful to give the skin a treat with our Purifying Clay Face Mask. It draws impurities from the skin, helping to deep cleanse the pores, meaning fewer congested skin outbreaks.
Moisturiser wise, moisturise using a deeply nourishing cream twice a day after cleansing - one designed for lighter wear during the day and a heavier one designed for a more intense moisture surge overnight.
If you work outside, then doing all you can to cover your skin and protect it from the elements will also help. If you wear sunscreen, then make sure you’re applying it as recommended. If not, then covering your face and neck with a suitable hat and good quality eye protection should be standard.
Stress wise, we can take steps to minimise the effects of stress by for example planning our week and using calming apps to help us relax.
We can also give serious thought to a career change. No mean feat, admittedly, but if stress is a major factor in your job and you’d rather live without it, it could be worth having a chat with your manager (or yourself) or thinking about the changes you could make.
Failing that of course, we can always hope our lottery numbers come in…
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.