Our skin and nervous system stems from the same embryonic tissue: the ectoderm. We now know that it's particularly sensitive to stress hormones, as it's packed with nerve endings and neurotransmitter receptors. Anxiety, stress, anger and fatigue are immediately reflected on our skin.

When under stress, the whole body goes on red alert. Faced with a threat, our hormones pump energy and oxygen to the muscles, heart and lungs, so that our bodies can quickly react. And this is where the problem lies. The skin, not being a vital organ, suffers the consequences of this biological action. It becomes poorly irrigated and the ensuing lack of blood supply makes it pale in appearance. What's more, as the adrenalin mounts, sweat production is increased. This lack of oxygen, hydration and nutrients causes the metabolism to slow down. Our skin becomes dry, sensitive and itchy. In an attempt to protect itself, the skin secretes sebum that clogs the pores; hence the appearance of blemishes. Other parts of the body may suffer from outbreaks of eczema.

Over time, the intense and repetitive production of these hormones decreases collagen production in the dermis. It also increases the presence of free-radicals that attack the skin's support fibres via a process called oxygenation. The skin is less supple, loses tone and liver spots may begin to appear. Wrinkles are also caused by stress-related facial expressions; frown lines are a typical example. It has been scientifically proven that chronic stress can age us by ten years; reason enough for us to find the time to unwind! Beauty regime solution: pamper yourself with treatments that will soften your highly sensitive skin and also soothe the mind. In the morning, apply an anti-blemish, anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing or brightening moisturiser. Work it in using light circular movements to give your circulation a much-needed boost. At night, make sure you deeply cleanse to remove any excess sebum caused by stress. A gentle facial scrub can also work wonders! Finish off with a serum to reduce expression lines, and at night, apply a nourishing balm, milk or lotion. Go on, treat yourself!