Our skin tells us a lot about our overall well-being. Common dermal disorders like skin redness, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis are often linked to other aspects of our physical and emotional health. No matter the sufferer’s age or gender, these conditions can flare up as a result of underlying health issues or in times of stress or anxiety.
In a pandemic context, it’s no wonder that many dermatologists are seeing more patients with skin complaints. According to a report published in the Journal of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicines, “the stress surrounding this biothreat appears to have clinical implications in all aspects of medicine, both in mental and physical health spheres” – and our skin is no exception.
How stress manifests in the skin
Our emotional health has a profound connection to our skin health. This is because our central nervous system reacts to more than external aggressors – it can also trigger responses from events within the body. One such example is neurogenic inflammation. This form of inflammation (skin redness, heat, swelling, pain) is initiated by peripheral nervous system c-fiber neurons stimulated by stress, rather than by an immunological response.
Neurogenic inflammation has a connection to the common chronic cutaneous vascular disorder, rosacea. This is because neurogenic inflammation leads to the release of mediators, which are capable of activating mast cells, inflammatory cells associated with the sensory nerves located in the skin. Concurrently, mast cells release mediators that can excite and stimulate C-fibers, increasing psychological stress, thus creating a feedback loop that can make the condition chronic.
Affecting 45 million adults worldwide, the skin redness caused by rosacea has long been linked to stress. Considering the prevalence of the disorder – and the added pressures of the global pandemic – demand for calming skin care is on the up. According to research, 49% of Italian women 52% of Spanish women are interested in beauty/grooming products that help them relax – and that was before the pandemic began (Mintel, 2020).
Calming inside and out
However, this notion of ‘calming’ skin care is taking on a more multifaceted character in the global pandemic. Naturally, disorders like rosacea require treatments to calm the skin: but considering the reaction is caused by stress, a holistic approach to calming is required. Consumers are looking for products that calm the skin and the mind, as part of a comprehensive approach to well-being.
This hypothesis is confirmed by consumer purchasing habits since the beginning of the crisis. While certain BPC product sales slid a bit during the lockdown, other products, particularly those associated with self-care, became a greater focus. For instance, in the UK, 45% of 16-34-year-olds have done more beauty and personal care activities to reduce stress and anxiety since the pandemic began (Mintel, 2020). This is chimes with Mintel’s predictions in their Trend Driver report Wellbeing, which explains that consumers are turning to stress-relieving, calming, and comforting products amid COVID-19 fears.
However, there is one final dimension to add to the trend: sustainability. Amidst greater concern with holistic health, consumers want products to care for the environment as well as their skin. Since the start of COVID-19, 25% of US adults, 46% of South Koreans, and 46% of Brazilians have made caring for the environment a higher priority, signaling a global shift (Mintel, 2020).
Soothing skin redness naturally
Agascalm™ is a natural active ingredient derived from the plant Agastache
mexicana, belonging to the Lamiaceae family and native to Mexico. Traditionally used to treat psychological stress, Provital has harnessed the power of this remarkable plant to create an active ingredient that calms the skin and mind. In in vivo studies, the application of the product was found to reduce skin redness caused by conditions like rosacea by 10%, when assessed under a cross-polarized light flash.
Moreover, the sourcing of the raw materials for Agascalm™ is a prime example of Provital’s commitment to sustainability. To obtain the botanicals for the active, Provital works with organic farmers in Queretaro, Mexico. Through a partnership with the Autonomous University of Queretaro and Mujeres y Ambiente, a collective of local women farmers, Provital helps to empower communities and protect the environment.