Spreading Clean Beauty

A pandemic context demands skin care that eases psychological stress

Poor sleep, stress, and anxiety have been exacerbated due to the global pandemic. In the UK, 49% of under-25s, pre-COVID-19, felt stressed or anxious at least three times a week, vs 31% of all adults (Mintel, 2020). Certainly, since the beginning of the pandemic, this tendency towards psychological stress has become even more pronounced. In a March Pew survey, 18% of Americans said they had experienced nervousness or anxiety most or all of the time during the past week.

These conditions have an effect on our skin. For instance, breakouts like psoriasis and eczema have a significant link to psychological stress, no matter the sufferer’s age. Thus, the beauty and skin care segment has a significant part to play in helping consumers alleviate the symptoms of stress. And this isn’t only to treat the symptoms; it’s also to tackle stress at the source. Here, we look at how skin care can really care during the pandemic.

Self-care is key to combatting psychological stress

In China, 76% of women agree that using beauty products is de-stressing (Mintel, 2020). In a pandemic context, this is a key statistic to bear in mind – the beauty industry can make a positive, material impact on people’s well-being. Currently, in Brazil – which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic – 64% of consumers say they are actively looking for ways to reduce stress. Thus, this is a key opportunity: by platforming self-care, brands can meet an increasingly powerful consumer demand.

Many major players are already responding to this shift and incorporating the wider context. For instance, new product launches are shifting away from beauty claims, and instead, highlighting health, well-being, and hygiene. Equally, other brands are considering our changing lifestyles; for instance, as working from home becomes more prevalent, the divide between work and personal time is blurred. This leaves more time for home spa experiences that improve the mood while caring for the skin. 

Mood-enhancers based in science

Many consumers have a perception that mood-enhancing personal care products only have anecdotal efficacy, based on preferences. However, there is a scientific basis for some mood-enhancing ingredients. Considering that 85% of Indonesian consumers trust beauty and personal care products created with scientifically proven ingredients, this is a powerful proposition, especially in emerging markets (Mintel, 2020).

The evidence for this lies with neurotransmitters. Just as negative experiences can impact skin conditions (e.g. eczema as a response to stress) the reverse can be true. Neurotransmitters trigger hormonal changes that can influence mood; for instance, a pleasing touch or texture can release mood-lifting hormones.

One such hormone is ß-endorphin, which is a neuropeptide. Composed of 25 amino acids, these compounds have been dubbed “the chemicals of happiness”. This is because it produces analgesia and modulate the mood, the emotions and the behavior in a similar way to opioids. Thus, cosmetic active ingredients that increase β-endorphin levels can alleviate psychological stress and promote wellness, and qualitatively improve skin appearance.

The science of self-care

The pandemic context is producing two key consumer demands: they want products that are scientifically proven and comforting. This is because consumers are placing more faith in the cold hard facts, but at the same time, want to take a gentler approach to their well-being, reducing psychological stress. Provital is always inspired by both the power of science and the caring properties of natural ingredients, which is why we developed Happy Skin™


Happy Skin™ is a novel ingredient derived from Rhodiola rosea. In folk medicine, R. rosea has been used to increase physical endurance, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and resistance to diseases, as well as relieving fatigue and depression. Now, scientists have found that it promotes the production of β-endorphins in the skin producing inner wellness and relaxation that becomes manifest in the outer appearance. Combined with pleasing textures and emotive scents, this active ingredient is a compelling solution to the demand for scientifically proven mood-boosting products.

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