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We already know about the impact of stress on our wellbeing. But stress can also have a significant effect on the appearance and health of your skin. Dermatologists have known for years that the level of stress experienced by a person can lead to a host of skin conditions. These can include episodic rashes, acne flare ups, or atopic eczema. Stress can have longer-lasting impacts, as well. Over time, perpetual stress can cause your skin to age prematurely.

Physiological Impacts Of Stress

Understanding how stress can age your skin requires an overview of what happens within your body when stress occurs. When you experience stress, your body responds by producing two hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – to help you cope with the stressful situation. Often known as the 'fight or flight' hormone, adrenaline helps you to deal with immediate danger. Once the perceived threat is over, adrenaline levels return to normal.

Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, also helps your body cope with stress. It is also essential for maintaining a healthy immune system amongst other physiologic processes. Cortisol levels increase to help you over a stressful patch and then return to normal levels. However, if you are under stress for long periods of time, cortisol levels remain high. If allowed to continue at high levels, cortisol can have negative impact.  

The Production Of Cortisol

If stress keeps your cortisol levels high, your immune system may go into overdrive. The impact on your physical appearance and wellness is significant:

Your skin can thin
Your bones may become weaker
Your muscles and connective tissue can break down
You may retain fluid and bruise more easily
You may be more prone to depression
Hormone imbalance may result between estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

Cortisol is an essential hormone, but balance is critical. When excessive amounts are produced and sustained during stressful periods, thinning skin that looks prematurely aged is one of the side effects.

Relieve Stress And Slow The Aging Process

Because stress is a natural part of life today, it's hard to completely avoid it. In fact, a little bit of stress keeps life interesting for most of us. The problem occurs when stress takes over your life. Aim to manage stress by incorporating the following practices to ensure your body and skin benefit:

Exercise – Studies have shown that exercise not only reduces stress, but it also encourages blood flow to your skin
Eat well - A healthy diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, good quality protein and healthy fats will provide you with the fuel to cope with stressful situations. To provide insurance for those days when you can't, consider a well formulated multi-vitamin/mineral supplement like [Link Removed]
Eat regularly – Keeping your blood sugar levels steady by eating more smaller meals throughout the day has been shown to help reduce cortisol levels
Get enough sleep – Aim for 8 hours; studies show that most of us need it.

Stress is a part of life today, but taking steps to manage it will help you look and feel better.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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