October 24, 2013

Corporate Acne and Stress: Part 1

"How Can I Stress Less About Work?" (Part 1 & Part 2), talked about managing the stress that many of my clients ask me about, as the economy has produced a new kind of work force that is full of women under pressure. The subject of workplace stress is especially pertinent to my business. As a specialist in Adult Acne, I get quite a few clients coming in to see me because of the stress caused by their jobs.

Contrary to what conventional wisdom would hold, since the economy blew up in 2008 not one person has come to me for a facial to feel better or to prepare the skin to look better for an interview. Everyone who has come to me for help with Adult Acne is typically working a 9-5 (or later) job. So why did my business as an Acne Specialist boom after the 2008 recession?

What makes this recession different from all others are the layoffs that created a smaller workforce doing double to triple the work. This is what has affected the average client who has come through my door in the last 4-5 years. As middle management with MBAs were laid off, those working under them got promoted from within, at very little above their previous salary. Having no real experience in leadership or management, these (usually) women are under tremendous pressure to turn out numbers like their predecessors while supervising former colleagues.

The result?

Days on end of terrified supervisors behaving badly, creating an environment where if someone willing and able to do the work of more than one person wants to keep her job, she'd better comply. She may be more valuable than the supervisor, but she's not irreplaceable. She wants to flee or fight back, but she can't. As valuable as she is, she can still lose her job. And with companies enjoying this new found money-saving work force doing more work at less pay, why should they hire anyone else? No wonder there are little-to-no job openings. So! The worker has to keep her fight or flight response inside and take that stress home.

This "conflict stress" is different than "worry stress" or even "rush-to-get-something-done stress." Why? The conflict stress from fight or flight responses produces constant adrenaline rushes, which affects women in different ways than men. 

As women, we produce testosterone in our adrenal glands, and every time we have a rush of adrenaline there is also a corresponding rush of testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for the presence of oil in the skin. 

Simply put: every time you have an adrenaline rush, you also get an oil rush!

If a skincare and/or make-up routine is dehydrating or clogging in any way, this excess oil will become stuck, which will create inflammation inside pores and then lead to swelling, redness, and pain.  The areas on the face that have slightly larger oil glands due to being located in the t-zone, and slight smaller pores due to facial contours dipping in a little bit, get hit the hardest.  And these areas are, you guessed it, the sides of the chin, the inner cheeks next to the nose, the sides of the nostrils, and between the brows!  As for the jawline next to the sides of the chin, and maybe even outward toward the ears and lower cheeks, these are areas we would have a beard if we were men.  There can be a certain kind of sensitivity to testosterone in oil glands there, which can hair-trigger even greater oil production.  Where there are rushes of oil, there are greater chances for inflammation.  

Since acne formation is now occurring in a completely different way than when you were a teen, the treatment also has to be different.

How? Deep breaths and have patience... 

The saga continues - - -  "Corporate Acne & Stress: Part 2"!