From acne to premature ageing, stress manifests itself in different ways in different people - but is it possible to prevent them from happening in the first place through our skincare? According to holistic beauty brand Disciple, yes, by using products that go beyond the surface.
The use of adaptogens in their formulations, ancient herbs that help body and brain better adapt to the effects of stress, is key to this objective. While these work to address the root cause of your flare-ups, other goodies, such as prebiotics and fatty acids, help sort out inflammation and excess oil production - two symptoms associated with persistently high cortisol levels.
What’s particularly interesting though about the company is its backstory. Founder, Charlotte Ferguson, is a psychotherapist and she’s seen first-hand how stress can affect skin both in her professional and personal lives. It all started a couple of years ago when a particularly stressful period in her life resulted in her suffering from the worst acne she’d ever had. “Nothing I tried worked - lasers, facials, skincare...and finally out of desperation I went to my GP who initially prescribed topical antibiotics and then Accutane,” she tells me. “My skin cleared up pretty quickly but I could feel the anxiety I had worked so hard to keep under control, creeping back and I knew in the back of my mind that once I stopped taking the pills, the acne would come right back. So I began researching, reading lots of medical journals and peer reviewed studies and they all said the same thing - acne is (mainly) caused by inflammation and stress-induced hormone imbalances.”
In light of these findings, Charlotte was inspired to study formulation and aromatherapy, which led to her discovery of the skin calming benefits of adaptogens, oils and pre and probiotics. When her acne came back after she came off her medication, she took what she’d learned and started making her own products in her kitchen. Her skin cleared, requests from friends and family for her formulations started rolling in and Disciple was born. “I just had to share it with other women experiencing the same thing as me,” she says. “When my skin was at its worst, I felt so desperate, anxious and low, having tried everything available to me. I vowed that when I found the products that sorted my skin out, I would use them forever - I would be a ‘disciple’ of that brand. But I never found that range and so had to create it myself!”
Its line-up is refreshingly streamlined - just four adaptogenic-based products that also feature prebiotics in the form of inulin-rich burdock root for feeding skin’s good bacteria, and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that helps balance skin’s natural sebum levels and therefore reduces breakouts.
Developed to provide a multi-pronged solution for those prone to a stressed out complexion, it’s skincare that aims to bridge the gap between body and mind. “It really is all about getting to the root cause,” Charlotte tells me. “I think of it as functional skincare – like functional medicine, instead of treating the symptoms of a condition you look into what’s causing disease in the body. This is what we would do in a therapy session – learn techniques to help feelings and behaviours in the short-term but also delve into where these thoughts and feelings originate.”
Intrigued? Here are the vital stats on Disciple’s collection of de-stressers.
Good Skin Face Oil, £21 for 20ml
Containing anti-inflammatory turmeric oil, soothing cucumber oil, calming burdock root and antibacterial geranium oil, this morning and evening oil has been created with those susceptible to stress-related breakouts in mind.
Buy online .
Dreamy Skin Retinyl Oil, £32 for 20ml
A brand bestseller - and it’s easy to see why. Enriched with rosehip, frankincense and watermelon oils, it contains 0.5 per cent retinyl, to help reduce pigmentation, scars and pores.
Buy online .
Balancing Mist, £12 for 50ml
A revitalising spritz that helps clear the cobwebs. Balancing geranium floral water helps re-energise while copper peptide protects.
Buy online .
Night Shift AHA Oil Cleanser + Cloth, £26 for 100ml
A deliciously textured facial cleansing oil that removes every scrap of makeup. Containing a blissful blend of moisturising cactus, hemp and grapeseed oils, grapefruit extract and neroli oil, it leaves skin clean but not stripped.
Buy online .
Read more: Why LED light is the at-home skin treatment the experts rate.