Stress less - how stress affects our skin.
Everyone knows that stress isn't good for our health and our body including the skin. We live in challenging times and stress is an integral part of our lives. Keep reading to find out what stress does to your skin (and the rest of your body) and how to manage it effectively.
Stress makes your skin weaker
According to the research stress affects skin's antimicrobial functions and can aggravate some of skin diseases such as acne, atopic dermatitis, rosacea and psoriasis.
Susceptibility to infections also increases for the same reason - skins' barrier function is being compromised.
Stress gives you spots
Our body in response to stress releases hormones: adrenalin, cortisol and noradrenalin - they cause the increase in oil production in our skin and as a result we get spots. It will get complicated now (sorry!) - when we are under prolonged stress and our body constantly produces stress hormones, one of them: cortisol can make our cells resistant to insulin which complicates things further... In response to this resistance our pancreas overproduces insulin which, in turn, leads to overproduction of androgens and they can cause spots by clogging pores.
Some of us like to eat more when we experience stressful situations (I know I do!😅). Again insulin will be the bad guy here - eating makes your blood sugar to rise and therefore insulin is released to our bloodstream. You know the rest.
Stress deprives our skin of oxygen and other nutrients
The typical response to stress consists of increased heart rate and increased blood flow to brain and body muscles - it happens because your body prepares itself for either 'fight or flight'. You need all the energy and nutrients to be delivered to the most important organs and unfortunately skin isn't one of them when it comes to stress. Diversion of the blood from skin causes less oxygen and nutrients being delivered - skin isn't nourished from the inside and it begins to look dehydrated, dull and more wrinkled.
Face expression matters too! Under pressure we tend to tighten our face muscles without our knowledge. This can reduce blood flow and therefore the amount of oxygen, vitamins and minerals to the skin. When we frown our faces wrinkles are formed and overtime they can become permanent.
Reduced blood flow can also slow down the cells turnover (natural 'shedding' of our skin, which takes around 28 days for healthy skin) and again this contributes to wrinkles and other signs of ageing.
Stress can increase transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and decrease water retention in the skin - dehydrated skin shows signs of ageing earlier.
Stress destroys collagen and elastin
Simple as that - cortisol is the main culprit here. Cortisol affects collagen directly by changing its production mechanisms and by destroying existing collagen and elastin fibers. Collagen and elastin are crucial for skin's integrity and supple, smooth look.
With high cortisol level our skin actually gets thinner and its ability to heal wounds slows down - collagen and elastin are very important here.
Stress damages our DNA
All three stress hormones are responsible for this. They damage the DNA and disrupt DNA repair. The research also suggest that stress is causing the shortening of telomeres in our chromosomes. Telomeres become shorter throughout our life, but stress accelerate this process and therefore skin ages faster.
Stress less! 🧡
It is easier said than done but in order to keep your skin looking healthier and younger we need to reduce the stress that affects us.
Regular workout, healthy diet, finding time for yourself are some of many ways to manage stress. We talk about how to care for skin in a holistic way on our Facebook page
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