We’re sure by now you know what it looks and feels like when you’re stressed. These days, you might feel in desperate need for a good yoga session or a vacation (or several), but did you know your skin can get stressed too? Kinship wants to help you nourish your finicky, stressed-out skin and press reset with its latest launch.
Kinship’s KINSKIN Oat Ceramide Relief Face Oil ($35) is a lightweight and fast-absorbing oil made just for soothing sensitive skin and a compromised skin barrier. For the full breakdown on dealing with stressed skin, the oil, and the star ingredient, oat ceramides, we sat down for a chat with Kinship founders Alison Haljun and Christin Powell and dermatologist Dr. Angela Lamb.
“[Oat germ] is really high in ceramides, so that's the hero ingredient,” Christin explains. "Ceramides make up almost 60% of our skin barrier and they get depleted over time and they need to be replenished. This product actually helps your body generate its own ceramides, but it's specifically from oats."
Founders Alison and Christin developed a love for the ingredient while in Denmark, where oats are a huge part of their culture because the superfood is just as calming and stress-reducing when ingested as it is on the skin. Oats are known for their soothing properties and this formula is derived from the kernel of the oat grain so it produces a lightweight and non-comedogenic oil packed with ceramides and acne-fighting zinc.
Ceramides are complex fats which are naturally occurring in the skin. Ceramides can help protect and restore the skin’s protective barrier, retain moisture and reduce signs of aging and skin damage.
In the formula, you’ll also find vitamin C ester, a stabilized form of vitamin c that can easily penetrate the skin, and an antioxidant that brightens skin and reduces the effect of blue light. There’s also a blend of fatty acids including rosehip, moringa, and sesame oil which gives the oil that super lightweight feeling and quick absorbency. They describe the oil as a "moisture trap," which basically seals in hydration.
Recognizing Stressed Skin
Let’s get into what stressed skin might look or feel like. Dr. Angela Lamb explains that it can be broken down into two forms, "One of the main ways are breakouts and acne which you consider traditional acne," she says. "When it's induced by stress, it's usually lower face jawline. When people walk in with breakouts that's usually a classic telltale sign that there is some kind of stress-related, hormonal component to it."
"The other way we can look at it is more like 'rash-y' skin, where the barrier has been broken down, is rash-prone, sensitive prone," she continues. Dr. Lamb explains that while some rashes can be caused by allergies, if you’ve ruled out an allergic reaction, it could be stress and a compromised skin barrier. "I like to call this reactive skin," she says.
So, what causes stressed skin? There are a lot of factors. "Usually lack of sleep and a change in lifestyle anre all the classic stressors," Dr. Lamb explains, "There's like a list of some of the major life stressors—moves, childbirth, divorces, those types of things. Anything that's going to put your body's internal stress system into overdrive." You can also take a look at your diet if you've made any major changes to what's going on your plate—that can be a factor as well.
After Dr. Lamb broke down the signs and symptoms of stressed skin, I realized my skin fit the description perfectly, so the oil couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time. I have hormonal breakouts on my cheeks and jaw and I was in the midst of recovering from over-exfoliating.
First impression: it’s super lightweight and smells slightly like peaches, courtesy of a slew of plant-based extracts (it contains no essential oils or artificial fragrances, which are common irritants). I have combination skin, so oils are usually the last step in my nighttime skincare routine to seal in moisture. I used this as a final step and while I usually prefer heavier oils, I liked how light this was and how quickly it absorbed. It felt light enough to be used anytime—in fact, Christin and Alison use it in the daytime and finish up with the Self Reflect Sunscreen ($25).
Since I had overdone it with the actives, my skin was pretty sensitive and irritated. I was impressed by how soothing the oil was and how quickly it worked to soothe any irritation and help my skin regain a bit of a glow. As for my hormonal acne, I wasn’t expecting miracles—I was suffering from a mild breakout but I think the oil did calm the worst of it. I felt some painful pimples forming that never surfaced; in a way, it was almost as good as a pimple patch.
I personally prefer a heavier oil to seal things in, but I was impressed by how much this oil soothed my skin. I'll be alternating between this and some of my heavier oils in my nighttime routine, especially when I'm experiencing hormonal breakouts or over-exfoliating (again).