Wow so the stresses of the past 13 months felt like 10 years of ageing all in one. On an emotional level, dealing with prolonged stress certainly feels ageing.
Over time the hormonal response triggered by stress can compromise the health of our skin and body. Acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, premature ageing, and many other conditions are linked to stress levels.
Managing your stress needs be a key part of your routine, working alongside any topical skincare products you apply.
So, why do we get spots when we are stressed?
When we are stressed our body releases hormones, these increase oil production in the skin. The result is spots and breakouts, which explains a little why adult acne is on the rise.
“Did you know 54% of women aged 25 and above have some facial acne.”
Unfortunately, it does not stop there. When we eat our body releases insulin as a means of storing energy for the body. The more stressed we are, the more insulin we produce. Insulin, in turn, triggers the production of hormones called androgens, which block pores and cause spots.
Stress also re-directs blood to the brain and muscles, which is where the body considers it most necessary to survive a threatening situation. This is why we talk about blood draining from someone’s face when they’re frightened or in shock. As blood travels towards the brain and muscles, skin begins to lack the nutrient and oxygen supply it needs to heal these spots.
Stress can reduce our skin’s ability to heal wounds by around 40%, so any spots you develop take longer to recover.
What is the deal with stress and ageing?
We can tell from someone’s expression whether they are happy or stressed. Frowning tightens the facial muscles, which restricts the free flow of blood and nutrients. The more you frown, the more likely it is that worry lines will become permanently ingrained on your face. Stress also triggers a series of chain reactions within the body that unfortunately can accelerate ageing such as:
· Reduces blood flow.
This means fewer nutrients and less oxygen are being delivered to the skin cells. Over time, this reduces the rate of cell turnover and the skin adopts a pale, lacklustre appearance.
· Increases cortisol.
When the body produces cortisol, it immediately releases sugars intended to provide the body with energy. Yet not only do these sugars create inflammation within the skin, but cortisol also damages and breaks down the supportive network of collagen and elastin. As the years pass, we develop more fine lines and wrinkles!
· Damages DNA
Small elements called telomeres sit at the ends of DNA strands to stop them from fraying (a bit like the ends of shoelaces. Stress unravels these telomeres and if it is a skin cell that’s affected, the ageing process rapidly accelerates.
What can you do?
· Firstly, try and manage your diet, and particularly minimise your sugar intake.
· To further support collagen, vitamins A and C are essentials in your skincare routine both topically and in your diet. Both these vitamins help to support normal collagen production and maintain collagen health.
· Again include vitamin A and also E as nutrients and topical skincare as this can lessen telomere shortening. Vitamin A helps repair skin cell DNA, encouraging normalised skin cells. Vitamin E may assist in preventing DNA mutations, It has been shown to lengthen the life of cells by delaying shortening of the telomeres.”
· Facial Treatments will help such as Environ facial treatments to treat different skin conditions using dual sound technology to enable deeper penetration of active vitamins to the skin. A – lift facials work by using microcurrent to stimulate blood flow increasing the nutrients and oxygen to feed the skin cells giving what is called the famous angel A – lift glow. Nano current stimulates the fibroblast cells increasing the production of collagen and elastin.
· Book yourself in for a Skin Consultation to find out more about how I can help you on a personal level.
A skincare plan can help stressed skin: but easing stress in general is vital for wellbeing. Here are 5 simple ways to relax.
Sleep regulates our hormones, improves our metabolism and immune system, increases physical and emotional resilience, and improves thinking and performance. When stressed, we might need more sleep than normal. Create an enjoyable 30-minute, routine to relax before bed.
Exercising uses up the fuels and stress hormones released during the day. Yoga is a good one as the physical postures improve strength and release muscle tension, and the breathing calms the stress response, aiding relaxation.
3. Eat regularly!
Our bodies need to maintain stable blood sugar levels. If levels drop too low, a stress response is generated to release more fuel. To avoid it, eating regularly is important. Some prefer two meals a day and some need five smaller meals. Everyone is different, so listen to your body.
4. Eat well!
Including fresh vegetables and fruit in the diet is vital. These contain vitamins and minerals essential for managing stress and supporting immunity. Ideally, we would get all nutrients from food, but even fruit and vegetables can have low nutrient quality, and daily supplements can provide additional support.
Relaxed breathing calms the stress response and relaxes our bodies and minds. If you feel stressed or anxious: focus on your breathing. Slow it down as much as possible, without straining, and relax into a comfortable rhythm. A daily breathing practice of just 5 to 10 minutes, reduces chronic stress and increases energy and resilience over time.